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®

Core Rulebook II v.3.5

Based on the original Dungeons & Dragons game
created by E. Gary Gygax and Dave Arneson
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CREDITS
D U N G E O N M A S T E R’ S G U I D E D E S I G N

DUNGEON MASTER’S GUIDE REVISION

Monte Cook

David Noonan, Rich Redman

DUNGEON MASTER’S GUIDE
D & D
D E S I G N
T E A M

Monte Cook, Jonathan Tweet,
Skip Williams
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Contents
Introduction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4
Chapter 1: Running the Game . . . . . . . 5
What Is a DM? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5
Style of Play . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7
Example of Play . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8
Running a Game Session . . . . . . . . . . 10

Chapter 3: Adventures . . . . . . . . . . . . . 43
Motivation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 43
Structure . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 44
Site-Based Adventures . . . . . . . . . . . . . 46
Event-Based Adventures . . . . . . . . . . . 47
The End (?) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 48
Encounters . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 48
Tailored or Status Quo . . . . . . . . . . 48
Challenge Ratings and
Encounter Levels . . . . . . . . . . . . 48
Difficulty . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 49
Tougher Monsters . . . . . . . . . . . . . 50
Location . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 50
Rewards and Behavior . . . . . . . . . . 50
Treasure . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 51
Bringing Adventures Together. . . . . . 56
Between Adventures . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 57
The Dungeon . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 57
Dungeon Terrain . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 59
Walls . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 59
Doors . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 60
Rooms . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 62
Corridors . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 63

Chapter 4: Nonplayer Characters . . 103
Everyone in the World . . . . . . . . . . . 103
NPC Classes . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 107
Adept . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 107
Aristocrat . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 108
Commoner. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 108
Expert . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 109
Warrior . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 109
NPC Statistics . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 110
NPC Attitudes . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 128
Fleshing out NPCs . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 128
Chapter 5: Campaigns. . . . . . . . . . . . . 129
Establishing a Campaign. . . . . . . . . . 129
Maintaining a Campaign . . . . . . . . . 130
Characters and the World
around Them . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 131
War and Other Calamities . . . . . . . . 133
Other Campaign Issues . . . . . . . . . . . 134
World-Building . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 135
Building a Different World. . . . . . . . 144
Adventuring on Other Planes . . . . . 147
Plane Descriptions . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 151
Creating a Cosmology . . . . . . . . . . . . 167
Chapter 6: Characters
169
Ability Scores. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 169
Races . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 170
Subraces . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 170
Modifying a Common Race. . . . 171
Changes through Addition
and Subtraction . . . . . . . . . . . . 171

Class/Race Restrictions . . . . . . . 171
New Races . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 171
Monsters as Races . . . . . . . . . . 172
Classes . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 174
Modifying Character Classes. . . 174
Creating New Classes . . . . . . . . . 175
Prestige Classes . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 176
Arcane Archer . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 176
Arcane Trickster . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 177
Archmage . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 178
Assassin. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 180
Blackguard . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 181
Dragon Disciple . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 183
Duelist. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 185
Dwarven Defender. . . . . . . . . . . . 186
Eldritch Knight. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 187
Hierophant. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 188
Horizon Walker . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 189
Loremaster . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 190
Mystic Theurge . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 192
Red Wizard . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 193
Shadowdancer . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 194
Thaumaturgist. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 196
How PCs Improve . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 197
Learning Skills and Feats . . . . . . 197
Learning New Spells . . . . . . . . . . 198
Gaining Class Benefits . . . . . . . . 198
General Downtime. . . . . . . . . . . . 198
Gaining Fixed Hit Points . . . . . . 198
Creating PCs above 1st Level . . . . . . 199
Special Cohorts . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 199
Familiars . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 200
Mounts . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 204
Animal Companions . . . . . . . . . . . . . 205
Epic Characters . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 206

TABLE OF
CONTENTS

Chapter 2: Using the Rules . . . . . . . . . 19
More Movement Rules . . . . . . . . . . . . 19
Movement and the Grid . . . . . . . . 19
Moving in Three Dimensions . . . 20
Evasion and Pursuit . . . . . . . . . . . . 20
Moving around in Squares . . . . . . 20
Bonus Types . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 21
Combat . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 21
Line of Sight . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 21
Starting an Encounter . . . . . . . . . . 22
New Combatants . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 23
Keeping Things Moving . . . . . . . . 24
Combat Actions. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 25
Attack Rolls . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 26
Damage . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 26
Effect of Weapon Size . . . . . . . . . . 28
Splash Weapons . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 28
Area Spells . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 28
Big and Little Creatures
in Combat . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 29
Skill and Ability Checks . . . . . . . . . . . 30
Saving Throws . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 33
Adjudicating Magic . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 34
Describing Spell Effects . . . . . . . . 34
Handling Divinations . . . . . . . . . . 34
Creating New Spells. . . . . . . . . . . . 35
Rewards. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 36
Experience Awards. . . . . . . . . . . . . 36
Story Awards . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 40
Character Death . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 41
Making a New Character . . . . . . . 42

Miscellaneous Features . . . . . . . . . 63
Cave-Ins and Collapses . . . . . . . . . 66
Illumination. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 67
Traps. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 67
Elements of a Trap . . . . . . . . . . . . . 68
Sample Traps . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 70
Designing a Trap . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 74
Dungeon Ecology . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 76
Dungeon Animals. . . . . . . . . . . . . . 76
Wandering Monsters . . . . . . . . . . . 77
Random Dungeons. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 77
Dungeon Level . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 77
The Map and the Key. . . . . . . . . . . 77
Random Dungeon Encounters . . 78
A Sample Adventure . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 78
Statistics Blocks. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 85
Wilderness Adventures . . . . . . . . . . . . 86
Getting Lost . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 86
Forest Terrain. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 87
Marsh Terrain . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 88
Hills Terrain . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 89
Mountain Terrain . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 89
Desert Terrain . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 91
Plains Terrain . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 91
Aquatic Terrain . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 92
Underwater Combat . . . . . . . . . 93
Weather. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 93
Random Wilderness
Encounters. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 95
Urban Adventures. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 98
Weapon and Spell Restrictions . . 99
Urban Features . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 99
Urban Encounters . . . . . . . . . . . . 101

Chapter 7: Magic Items. . . . . . . . . . . . 211
Handling Magic Items . . . . . . . . . . . 212
Magic Item Descriptions . . . . . . . . . 215
Armor . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 216
Weapons . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 221
Potions and Oils . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 229
Rings . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 229
Rods. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 233
Scrolls . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 237
Staffs . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 243
Wands . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 245
Wondrous Items . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 246
Intelligent Items . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 268
Cursed Items . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 272
Artifacts. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 277
Creating Magic Items . . . . . . . . . . . . 282
Masterwork Items . . . . . . . . . . . . 283
Special Materials. . . . . . . . . . . . . . 283
Chapter 8: Glossary . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 289
Special Abilities. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 289
Condition Summary . . . . . . . . . . . . . 300
The Environment . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 302
Visual Aids . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 305
Index . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 317
List of Sidebars . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 319
List of Numbered Tables . . . . . . . . . . 320

3

INTRODUCTION

Introduction

This is the DUNGEONS & DRAGONS® Roleplaying Game, the game
that defines the genre and has set the standard for fantasy roleplaying for more than 30 years.
Specifically, this is the Dungeon Master’s Guide. This book contains information that every Dungeon Master (DM) needs to set
up adventures, narrate the action, run the monsters, and referee
the DUNGEONS &DRAGONS game. This book, the Player’s Handbook,
and the Monster Manual comprise the core rules for the D&D®
game.

THE DUNGEON MASTER

We’ve distilled our knowledge of the D&D® game into the material that follows. Whether you need to know how to design an
adventure, a campaign, or an entire game world, the material in
this book can, and will, help you.
You’re a member of a select group. Truly, not everyone has the creativity and the dedication to be a DM. Dungeon Mastering (DMing)
can be challenging, but it’s not a chore. You’re the lucky one out of
your entire circle of friends who play the game. The real fun is in
your hands. As you flip through the Monster Manual or look at published adventures on a store shelf, you get to decide what the player
characters (PCs) take on next. You get to build a whole world, as well
as design and play all its nonplayer characters (NPCs).
It’s good to be the DM.
The DM defines the game. A good DM results in a good game.
Since you control the pacing, and the types of adventures and
encounters, the whole tenor of the game is in your hands. It’s fun,
but it’s a big responsibility. If you’re the sort of person who likes to
provide the fun for your friends, or to come up with new ideas,
then you’re an ideal candidate for DM.
Once your group has a Dungeon Master, however, that doesn’t
mean that you can’t switch around. Some DMs like to take a turn
at being a player, and many players eventually want to try their
hand at DMing.

HOW TO USE THIS BOOK

No one expects you to read this book cover to cover. It’s not a
novel. Instead, we arranged this book into topics that you can refer
to when you need them. Plus, an extended glossary at the back of
the book provides quick reference to DM-related topics.
Based on those portions of the game that you control, you’ll find
chapters that deal with running the game, adjudicating play, writing adventures, building a campaign, awarding experience, and
finding or creating the right magic items to stock your dungeons.
Refer to the table of contents and the index to locate the specific
topic you need at any given time.

PLAYING ON THE BATTLE GRID
The D&D game assumes the use of miniature figures, and the
rules are written from that perspective. This book contains a battle
grid and other tools to help you visualize the action.
The poster-sized sheet in the back of the book has a 1-inch grid
on one side, and a collection of rooms that can be used to represent areas in a dungeon on the other side.
The last 12 pages of this book (just ahead of the index) present a
variety of visual aids that you can use to set up and play out
encounters and adventures on the grid:
—Six pages of diagrams that show the squares contained
within areas of different sizes and shapes, and graphic depictions
of space and reach for creatures of varying sizes.
—Six pages of illustrations that represent various dungeon
features, sized to fit the 1-inch grid, that you can photocopy, cut
out, and place on the grid—enabling players to actually see
what lies before their characters as they make their way through
the dungeon.

FINAL NOTE

The power of creating worlds, controlling deities and dragons, and
leading entire nations is in your hands. You are the master of the
game—the rules, the setting, the action, and ultimately, the fun.
This is a great deal of power, and you must use it wisely. This book
shows you how.

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WHY A REVISION?

4

The new DUNGEONS & DRAGONS game debuted in 2000. In the three years
since the d20 Game System energized the roleplaying game industry,
we’ve gathered tons of data on how the game is being played. We
consider D&D to be a living game that constantly evolves as it is
played. Using the gathered feedback, we’ve retooled the game from the
ground up and incorporated everyone’s suggestions to improve the
game and this product.
If this is your first experience with D&D, we welcome you to a wonderful world of adventure and imagination. If you played the prior version of
this book, rest assured that this revision is a testament to our dedication
to continuous product improvement and innovation. We’ve updated
errata, clarified rules, polished the presentation, and made the game
better than it was. This is an upgrade of the d20 System, not a new edition
of the game. This revision is compatible with existing products, and these
products can be used with the revision with only minor adjustments.
What’s new in the revised Dungeon Master’s Guide? The entire book has
been polished and refined, all in response to your feedback and to reflect
the way the game is actually being played. We’ve revised the encounter
tables and magic item creation rules. We’ve expanded the movement
rules, increased the number of prestige classes, added dozens of new
magic items and magic item special abilities, and provided plenty of tools
to help promote the three-dimensional experience.
Take a look, play the game. We think you’ll like how everything turned
out.

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THE PURPOSE OF SIDEBARS
You’ll see blocks of text that look like this one frequently throughout
this book. The information in these sidebars is not part of the rules per
se, but you’ll find them useful and interesting in their own right. Most
sidebars in this book serve either to introduce rules variants or to give
you a glimpse “behind the curtain” into how some aspect of the D&D
game was created.
Variant: To give you an idea of some of the ways in which you can
alter the D&D rules for your own campaign, some sidebars suggest
variants that you can adopt or modify to suit your game.
The basic rules presented in this book—that is, everything not identified as a variant—apply to the baseline D&D campaign. If you are
playing in an RPGA® Network event, that event uses the basic rules in
this book. Establishing a standard set of rules makes a worldwide
gaming network possible.
Behind the Curtain: Some sidebars provide a further explanation of
why the rules are the way they are—a look “behind the curtain” into
how the game’s designers make decisions about the rules. If you’re the
sort of DM who likes to tinker with the rules of the D&D game, these
sidebars offer some advice and inspiration as you customize the game
for yourself and your players.

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Illus. by A. Swekel

n your role as Dungeon Master, you’re the focus of the game. If the
game’s fun, it will be to your credit. If it’s a failure, you’ll get the
blame, whether it’s deserved or not. Don’t worry, though—running a D&D® game is not as hard as it may seem at first. (But don’t
tell the players that!)

WHAT IS A DM?

Dungeon Mastering involves writing, teaching, acting, refereeing, arbitrating, and facilitating. Described below are the different
duties of the DM. You’ll find that you like some more than others.
As in any hobby, focus on what you enjoy the most, but remember
that all the other duties are also important.

PROVIDING ADVENTURES
Your primary role in the game is to present adventures in which
the other players can roleplay their characters. To accomplish
this, you need to spend time outside the game sessions themselves, preparing. This is true whether you write your own adventures or use prepared adventures that you have purchased.

Writing Adventures
Creating adventures takes a great deal of time. Many DMs find
that they spend more time getting ready for the game than they
do at the table actually playing. These same DMs often find this
creation time to be the most fun and rewarding part of being a
Dungeon Master. Making up interesting characters, settings,
plots, and challenges to present before your friends can be a great
creative outlet.
Writing good adventures is so important that it receives its
own chapter in this book. See Chapter 3: Writing an Adventure.

Using Purchased Adventures
Many published adventures are available for you to purchase if you don’t want to write one of your own, or if you
just want a change of pace. In a published adventure, you’ll
get a pregenerated scenario with all the maps, NPCs, monsters, and treasures you need, and an adventure plot
designed to make the most of them. Sometimes, when
you use a published adventure, you’ll see that it presents
challenges you would have never thought of on your
own.
Remember, however, that you’re the one who has to
run the adventure: Anything you want to change, you
can. In fact, you will often find you need to make at least
small changes to fit the adventure into your ongoing
campaign and to get your players into the action. You
can have a great deal of fun replacing the villain of an
adventure with one the players have already heard of
in your campaign, or changing the background of the
adventure so that it involves your players’ characters
in ways that the module’s designer never could have
possibly imagined.

TEACHING THE GAME
Sometimes it’s going to be your responsibility to
teach newcomers to the game how to play. This isn’t
a burden, but a wonderful opportunity. Teaching
other people how to play provides you with new players and allows you to set them on the path to becoming
top-notch roleplayers. It’s easier to learn to play with
someone who already knows the game. Those who
are taught by a good teacher who runs a fun game

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are more likely to join in the hobby for the long haul. Use this
opportunity to encourage new players to become the sort of
people you want to game with.
Here are a few pointers on teaching the game.
Read the Player’s Handbook and know the character creation
rules so you can help new players build characters. Have each of
the newcomers tell you what sort of character he or she wants to
play and then show them how they can create those heroes with
the D&D rules. If they don’t know what to play, show them the
player character races and classes in the Player’s Handbook, briefly
describe each, and let them choose the one that appeals to them
the most. Another option is to keep a few simple characters
(such as a 1st-level fighter or rogue) around for newcomers.
Advance those characters in level as the party advances. and
you’ll have “old friends” who adventure with the party when
newcomers play them.
Once the PCs are created, don’t worry about teaching the players all the rules ahead of time. All they truly need to know are the
basics that apply to understanding their characters (how spells
work, what AC means, how to use skills, and so forth), and they
can pick up most of this information as they go along. Remember
the most basic rule: To attack, make a saving throw, or use a skill,
roll a d20 and hope for a high number.
As long as you know the rules, the players need be concerned
only with their characters and how they react to what happens to
them in the game. Have players tell you what they want their characters to do, and translate that into game terms for them. Teach
them how the rules work when they need to learn them, on a caseby-case basis. For example, if the player of a wizard wants to cast a
spell or the player of a fighter wants to attack, the player tells you
what the character is attempting. Then you tell the player which
modifier or modifiers to add to the roll of a d20, and what happens
as a result. After a few times, the player will know what to do without asking.

PROVIDING THE WORLD
Every Dungeon Master is the creator of his or her own campaign
world. Whether you use the GREYHAWK® setting (the standard
D&D campaign setting) or another published setting for the D&D
game, such as the FORGOTTEN REALMS® Campaign Setting, it’s still
your world.
The setting is more than just a backdrop for adventures, although it’s that too. The setting is everything in the fictional world
except for the PCs and the adventure plot. A well-designed and
well-run world seems to go on around the PCs, so that they feel a
part of something, instead of apart from it. Though the PCs are
powerful and important, they should seem to be residents of some
fantasy world that is ultimately larger than they are.
Consistency is the key to a believable fictional world. When the
PCs go back into town for supplies, they ought to encounter some
of the same NPCs they saw before. Soon, they’ll learn the barkeep’s name—and she’ll remember theirs as well. Once you have
achieved this degree of consistency, however, provide an occasional change. If the PCs come back to buy more horses at the stables, you could have them discover that the man who ran the place
went back home to the large city over the hills, and now his
nephew runs the family business. That sort of change—one that
has nothing to do with the PCs directly, but one that they’ll
notice—makes the players feel as though they’re adventuring in a
living world as real as themselves, not just a flat backdrop that
exists only for them to delve its dungeons.
For much more on running a campaign, see Chapter 5.

ADJUDICATING

6

When everyone gathers around the table to play the game, you’re
in charge. That doesn’t mean you can tell people what to do outside the boundaries of the game, but it does mean that you’re the

final arbiter of the rules within the game. Good players will always
recognize that you have ultimate authority over the game mechanics, even superseding something in a rulebook. Good DMs know
not to change or overturn a published rule without a good, logical
justification so that the players don’t rebel (more on that later).
To carry out this responsibility, you need to know the rules.
You’re not required to memorize the rulebooks, but you should
have a clear idea of what’s in them, so that when a situation comes
up that requires a ruling, you know where to reference the proper
rule in the book.
Often a situation will arise that isn’t explicitly covered by the
rules. In such a situation, you need to provide guidance as to how
it should be resolved. When you come upon a situation that the
rules don’t seem to cover, consider the following courses of action.
• Look to any similar situation that is covered in a rulebook. Try
to extrapolate from what you see presented there and apply it to
the current circumstance.
• If you have to make something up, stick with it for the rest of
the campaign. (This is called a house rule.) Consistency keeps
players satisfied and gives them the feeling that they adventure
in a stable, predictable universe and not in some random,
nonsensical place subject only to the DM’s whims.
• When in doubt, remember this handy little rule: Favorable
conditions add +2 to any d20 roll, and unfavorable conditions
penalize the roll by –2. You’ll be surprised how often this “DM’s
best friend” will solve problems.
If you come upon an apparent contradiction in the rules, consider these factors when adjudicating.
• A rule found in a rulebook overrules one found in a published
adventure, unless the rule presented in the published adventure deals with something specific and limited to the adventure
itself.
• Choose the rule that you like the best, then stick with it for the
rest of the campaign. Consistency is a critical aspect of rules
adjudication.

PROPELLING THE GAME EVER FORWARD
While all the players are responsible for contributing to the game,
the onus must ultimately fall upon the DM to keep the game
moving, maintain player interest, and keep things fun. Remember
that keeping things moving is always more important than searching through rulebooks to find the exact details on some point or
spending time in long debates over rules decisions.
Even a well-run game can bog down sometimes. Perhaps the
players have been at it a while and are growing a little tired of the
same old thing. Maybe a playing session falls flat for no apparent
reason. Sometimes this can’t be helped—you’re only human. In
fact, occasionally you will find it’s better to cancel a playing session or cut it short rather than have a poor experience that may set
back the whole campaign.
However, an average playing session can be turned into a memorable one, or a poor session can be spiced up. For example, props
can bring new life to a game. You can make fake parchment from
normal paper, “aging” it by wetting it slightly with coffee or tea
and then letting it dry to an uneven yellow. Toss in a few creases or
small rips, and later when the PCs find a map or a message you can
actually hand it to them. Old coins, tarot cards, a battered book in
a foreign language, and the like all make wonderful handouts to
get players into the spirit of the game.
Another kind of visual aid is artwork. In all D&D game products, you’ll find wonderful fantasy illustrations. Look through
those products, or find a book cover or some other art source to
provide you with a picture that fits something the PCs will
encounter. Then, when the encounter comes to pass, pull out the
picture and say, “This is what you see.” While players’ imaginations are fertile, sometimes seeing a depiction of something they
encounter in the game—a character, a monster, or a place—

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walks, stand up and show the players exactly what you mean.
When the ceiling above the PCs begins to collapse, slam your fists
upon the table to simulate the sound of falling rocks. If someone
holds out his hand and offers something to a PC, mime the
action—almost every time, the player (assuming the character
takes what’s offered) will follow your cue instinctively and reach
out, miming the character’s grasping whatever it is. You could
even make a player whose character is invisible sit under the table
to remind everyone that they can’t see her, and her voice just
comes out of nowhere. Keep in mind, though, that this sort of
activity can quickly get out of hand. Don’t act out your combats, or
someone could get a black eye!
Finally, every once in a while, really surprise your players.
The NPC they thought was a villain turns out to be a
shapechanged unicorn with only the best of intentions. The
clue they thought led to the treasure vault turns out to be a red
herring. If the PCs are in a dungeon room, and a fire giant is
about to storm into the room and attack, keep your voice at a
moderate or even soft level while describing the room. Then,
suddenly, raise your voice and leap to your feet as the giant
enters. That’ll get their attention.

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makes the experience all the more exciting or real. Sometimes you
can find illustrations in odd places. Jewelry catalogs can provide
visual aids for some magic items or treasure, and sometimes a history book or encyclopedia with illustrations is just as good as a fantasy book.
Of course, you can’t always have a prop or a picture of some
monster, NPC, or place that you have created. That’s when you
rely on an evocative, exciting description. Pepper your descriptions of what the characters see with adjectives and vivid verbs.
Remember that you are the players’ eyes and ears. “A dank, dark
chamber with moss growing in cracks in the stone walls” is much
more exciting than “a 10-foot-by-10-foot room.” Throughout the
game, continually ask yourself: What exactly do the characters
see? Do they hear anything? Are there any noticeable odors? An
unpleasant tang in the air? Do they feel the chill wind against
their skin? Is their hair tousled by hot, damp gusts?
No player will forget a tense battle on a crumbling bridge in the
middle of a thunderstorm. The best way to get the players’ attention is with gripping action. While not every encounter needs to
be life-threatening or earth-shaking, keep in mind how it would
all seem in some action movie or exciting book. Villains shout epithets as they fight, and monsters roar menacingly. If a fight against
gnolls is exciting, imagine how much more exciting a fight would
be against gnolls on a ledge around a lava pit.
Some DMs enjoy creating just the right atmosphere for their
playing sessions. Music is often a good way to accomplish this. It’s
sort of like having a soundtrack for your game. Not surprisingly,
those who enjoy using music in their games often use soundtracks
from adventure movies, although classical, ambient, or other
styles work well. Keep in mind, though, that some players may
find music distracting. Be receptive to what your players like—an
atmosphere in which they can’t hear, are distracted, or aren’t enjoying themselves is never a good one. Other ways DMs can create an
atmosphere are with painted miniatures and dioramas, specially
adjusted lighting, and even sound effects. (If the door to the room
you are in squeaks, you may want to use that when the PCs open a
dungeon door.)
Another element many DMs employ and many players enjoy is
for the DM to use different voices when speaking “in character.”
Practicing several different accents or
ways of speaking and assigning them
to different NPCs can be a striking
way to make those characters stand
out in the players’ minds.
Occasionally, a little miming of
actions can supplement a game
that otherwise exists only in your
imagination. If an NPC is shriveled and stooped over when she

STYLE OF PLAY

The DM provides the adventure and the world. The players and
the DM work together to create the game as a whole. However, it’s
your responsibility to guide the way the game is played. The best
way to accomplish this is by learning what the players want and
figuring out what you want as well. Many styles of play exist; two
that sit at opposite ends of the playing spectrum are detailed
below as examples.

KICK IN THE DOOR
The PCs kick in the dungeon door, fight the monsters, and get the
treasure. This style of play is straightforward, fun, exciting, and
action-oriented. Very little time is spent on developing personas
for the player characters, roleplaying noncombat encounters, or
discussing situations other than what’s
going on in the dungeon.

The kick-in-the-door
style of play.

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In such a game, let the PCs face mostly clearly evil monsters
and opponents and meet clearly good helpful NPCs (occasionally). Don’t expect PCs to anguish over what to do with prisoners,
or whether it’s right or wrong to invade and wipe out the bugbear
lair. Don’t bother too much with money or time spent in town. Do
whatever it takes to get the PCs back into the action as quickly as
possible. Character motivation need be no more developed than a
desire to kill monsters and acquire treasure.
Rules and game balance are very important in this style of play.
If some characters have combat ability greater than that of their
fellows, unfair situations may develop in which the players of the
overpowered characters can handle more of the challenges and
thus have more fun. If you’re using this style, be very careful about
adjudicating rules and think long and hard about additions or
changes to the rules before making them.

DEEP-IMMERSION STORYTELLING
The Free City of Greyhawk is threatened by political turmoil. The
PCs must convince the members of the ruling council to resolve
their differences, but can only do so after they have come to terms
with their own differing outlooks and agendas. This style of gaming is deep, complex, and challenging. The focus isn’t on combat
but on talking, developing in-depth personas, and character interaction. A whole game session may pass without a single die roll.
In this style of game, the NPCs should be as complex and richly
detailed as the PCs—although the focus should be on motivation
and personality, not game statistics. Expect long digressions from
each player about what his or her character will do, and why.
Going to a store to buy iron rations and rope can be as important
an encounter as fighting orcs. (And don’t expect the PCs to fight
the orcs at all unless their characters are motivated to do so.) A
character will sometimes take actions against his player’s better
judgment, because “that’s what the character would do.” Adventures in this style of play deal mostly with negotiations, political
maneuverings, and character interaction. Players talk about the
“story” that they are collectively creating.
Rules become less important in this style. Since combat isn’t the
focus, game mechanics take a back seat to character development.
Skill modifiers take precedence over combat bonuses, and even
then the actual numbers often don’t mean much. Feel free to
change rules to fit the player’s roleplaying needs. You may even
want to streamline the combat system so that it takes less time
away from the story.

SOMETHING IN BETWEEN
The style of play in most campaigns is going to fall between the two
extremes just described. There’s plenty of action, but there’s a storyline and interaction between characters as well. Players will develop
their characters, but they’ll be eager to get into a fight. Provide a nice
mixture of roleplaying encounters and combat encounters. Even in
a dungeon, you can present NPCs that aren’t meant to be fought but
rather helped out, negotiated with, or just talked to.

OTHER STYLE CONSIDERATIONS

8

A few other style-related issues are worth your consideration.
Serious versus Humorous: How seriously you take things
sets the standard for how seriously the players take things. Jokes
and silly remarks can make the game more fun, but they can also
detract from the action. If you make funny comments during the
game, expect that the players will, too.
Likewise, if you design adventures that are lighthearted, create
NPCs that are slightly silly, or introduce embarrassing or humorous situations into the game, realize that it changes the tenor of
the game. If the king of the land is a talking dog named Muffy or
if the PCs have to find a brassiere of elemental summoning rather
than a brazier of elemental summoning, don’t expect anyone to take
the game too seriously.

Overall, it’s recommended that you play things straight. Don’t
intentionally insert jokes into the game. There’ll be enough joshing around at the table already to keep the game fun. The in-game
action should remain fairly serious (although an occasional funny
moment is fine).
Naming Conventions: Related to how serious or humorous
the game is, character names should be fairly uniform in style
throughout the group. Although any character name is fine in and
of itself, a group that includes characters named Bob the Fighter,
Aldorius Killraven of Thistledown, and Runtboy lacks the consistency to be credible.
Multiple Characters: You need to decide if each player is
going to be limited to one character or can have more than one,
and whether a player is allowed to actually run more than one
character at the same time. Generally, it’s best if you keep to one
character per player. However, when players are few, you might
allow them to run more than one character just to get the group
size up to at least four characters.

THE BOTTOM LINE
You’re in charge. This is not being in charge as in telling everyone
what to do. Rather, you get to decide how your player group is
going to play this game, when and where the adventures take
place, and what happens. That kind of being in charge.

EXAMPLE OF PLAY

A DM guides four players through their first adventure. The players are playing Tordek (a dwarf fighter), Mialee (an elf wizard),
Jozan (a human cleric), and Lidda (a halfling rogue). These four
adventurers seek the ruins of an abandoned monastery, drawn by
rumors of a fabulous fire opal, supposedly hidden there by the
abbot when the place was attacked.
After passing through the lifeless aboveground ruins of the monastery, the adventurers find a rubble-strewn staircase leading down.
Tordek: Let’s give these upper ruins one more quick look.
DM: [Making some rolls in secret, but knowing there’s nothing to find
in the burned-out shell of the monastery.] You don’t find anything.
What are you going to do now?
Jozan: Let’s go down!
Lidda: We’ll light a torch first.
DM: Fine, but I’ll need the marching order that you’ll be in.
At this point, the players arrange their miniature figures, each representing one character, in the order in which they will march down the
stairs (and walk down corridors, and enter rooms). Tordek goes first, followed by Jozan (with the torch), then Mialee. Lidda brings up the rear, her
player noting that she will be watching behind them occasionally.
If the players didn’t have miniatures, writing down the marching order
on a piece of paper would suffice.
Tordek: Fortunately, the torchlight won’t spoil my darkvision—
that’ll help us navigate in the dark down there.
Jozan: Okay, we go down the stairs.
DM: You descend southward, possibly 30 feet laterally, and at
the end of the stairway you see an open space.
Tordek: I enter and look around.
Jozan: I come in behind with the torch.
DM: You are in a chamber about 30 feet across to the south and
30 feet wide east and west. You see 10-foot-wide passages to the left
and right as well as straight ahead, each in the center of its respective wall. Looking back, you see the stairway by which you entered
the chamber in the center of the north wall.
Lidda: What else do we see?
DM: The floor is rough and damp. The ceiling is supported by
arches that probably rise to meet in the center, about 20 feet above
you—it’s hard to tell because of all the webs. Some moldering old
sacks are lying in the southwest corner, and some rubbish is jum-

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DM: The webs burn quickly. As they do, tiny burning husks of
smaller spiders fall from the ceiling, but nothing the size of the
creature that attacked.
Tordek: [On lookout.] What do we see down the passages?
DM: The south tunnel runs straight as far as you can see. The
west corridor ends in a door at about 20 feet.
Tordek: Okay, I’ll also glance down the east passage.
DM: You see the east corridor goes straight for about 20 feet and
then turns a corner to head north.
Lidda: Let’s check out that door. [Everyone agrees.]
DM: Okay. You walk down the west passage. The door is a great,
heavy thing with a huge ring of corroded bronze in the center.
Tordek: Mialee, your Listen modifier is better than mine. Why
don’t you listen at this door?
Mialee: Okay. I move forward to do so. [Rolls.] I roll a 13. Do I
hear anything?
DM: You hear a faint moaning sound—you can’t really tell what
it is—that rises and then fades away. The door is hinged on the left
and looks like it pulls inward toward you.
Mialee: I hear moaning on the other side. Let’s get ready for
action! And, by the way, I move to my position toward the back. . .
Tordek: [Laughs.] All right, I’ll open the door while the elf
scrambles to the back of the line.
DM: Make a Strength check.
Tordek: [Rolls.] I only got a 10. If that’s not good enough, can I
try again?
DM: That’s not good enough, but if you’re willing to spend more
time on it, you can keep trying.
Tordek: [To the other players.] Look, we really want to get through
this door, right? [They agree, so the player turns back to the DM.] I’m
willing to spend enough time to take 20 on my roll. With my
Strength bonus, that gives me a 22.
DM: Ah, easily good enough. After a couple of minutes, Tordek
forces open the stuck door. Immediately a blast of cold, damp air
gusts into the passage where you are, blowing out Jozan’s torch.
Tordek: Do I see anything with my darkvision?
DM: Beyond the door is a chamber with rough walls, not blocks
of stone like the room behind you. It’s 25 feet wide and extends
about 40 feet to the south. A stream spills through the room into a
pool, carrying with it a cold, damp breeze. You don’t see anything
moving around, but some old barrels and buckets are here.
Jozan: I cast light on a rock, since we’ll never get a torch lit in
this wind.
DM: Okay, now everyone can see.
Tordek: I look at the ceiling and the floor for any more nasty
surprises.
Mialee: I’ll look in the barrels and buckets.
Lidda: Jozan, bring your light over and we’ll check out the pool.
DM: Tordek and Mialee, make Search checks. Lidda and Jozan,
give me Spot checks, since you can’t “search” the pool without getting into it, but you can look into the water to spot anything that
might be there. [The players comply and tell the DM their results,
although the DM knows that there’s nothing for Tordek or Mialee to find.]
There’s nothing alarming about the ceiling and floor, and the
buckets are empty. The pool has some small white fish that look
harmless—they don’t react at all to your light. The pool looks to be
4 to 6 feet deep with a rough and rocky bottom. Jozan, with your
result of 17 you see that what at first seemed to be a rock formation
near the center of the pool looks somewhat like a skeleton.
Jozan: Cool! Mialee, will you cast your own light spell so I can
toss this rock down into the pool to get a better look at this skeleton? It might be something interesting.
Mialee: Okay, I do.
Jozan: I toss the rock that I’ve cast light upon into the water,
toward the center of the pool.
DM: Your stone falls to the bottom of the pool, illuminating the
center. The formation is clearly a limed-over skeleton—it must

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bled in the center of the floor—dirt, old leather, scraps of cloth,
and some sticks or bones.
After a short discussion and the formation of a plan, each player
announces an action for his or her character. Tordek looks down the south
passage, Mialee investigates the rubbish in the middle, Jozan looks at the
old sacks, and Lidda looks down the west passage. The players position
their figures on a floor plan the DM has sketched out on paper.
Since no one paid the webs any attention, the DM doesn’t worry about
Spot checks to see the spider.
DM: Okay. As two of you are looking down the passages and
Jozan starts looking at the sacks . . . [The DM rolls a touch attack for
the monstrous spider in the webs. He knows a 14 indicates success because
he wrote down everyone’s AC ahead of time and knows Mialee’s AC is 13.]
. . . Mialee, you feel something land on your shoulder—it feels
hairy and moves toward your neck!
Mialee: Yikes! What is it?
Tordek: If I hear her call out, I’ll turn around. What do I see?
DM: Wait just a minute. First, Mialee, roll for initiative.
Mialee: [Rolls.] I got a 19!
DM: [Rolls initiative for the spider, and gets a 9.] Everyone else
should roll for initiative as well. Tordek, you heard Mialee gasp,
and you turn to see a large, hairy spider on her neck.
Jozan rolls a 10, Lidda an 8, and Tordek a 4.
DM: Mialee, you go first. What do you do?
Mialee: I grab it from my shoulder and throw it to the ground,
where I can stomp on it with my boot.
DM: Okay, but your unarmed attack provokes an attack of
opportunity from the spider, so it bites as you grab at it. [He rolls an
attack roll for the spider, and gets a 16.] Ugh! Mialee, you feel a sharp
prick on your neck. Make a Fortitude saving throw.
The players all gasp in fear. Mialee rolls a die and would add her Fortitude modifier, except that it’s +0.
Mialee: Fortitude, my worst save! Let’s see—15 plus 0 is, well,
15. Is that good enough?
DM: You feel okay. But the bite still delivers 1 point of damage.
Mialee: Ouch. Okay, then I roll a 14 to grab it and throw it to the
ground. Do I succeed?
DM: Yes. The spider lands on the ground and looks like it’s
going to scuttle away, perhaps back up the wall to the webs above.
Jozan: My turn. I run up to it and smash it with my mace! I roll
a natural 20! With my bonus, that’s 22 in all.
DM: Good roll! You can move that far and attack, so make a roll
to see if that’s a critical hit.
Jozan: [Excitedly rolling again.] Is a 15 good enough?
DM: Yep. Roll damage—twice. Add the results together.
Jozan: [Rolls.] Sweet! Twelve points altogether once I add my
Strength bonus—which also doubled with the crit!
DM: That mighty blow smashes the creature to bits.
Mialee: Cool. Well, now that all the excitement is over, I’m
going to search through this refuse on the floor like I said I would.
DM: Okay. First, make another Fort save to see if there are any
lingering effects from that spider bite.
Mialee: Uh-oh, that doesn’t sound good . . . [Rolls.] . . . a 17!
DM: No problems, then. You feel fine. Looking at the pile of
debris, you’d guess it’s probably refuse from the spider—leftovers
of its victims and its own castings. Amid bits of bone and tatters of
clothing, you find 19 silver pieces. And make a Search check.
Mialee rolls a 9 and adds her +6 Search modifier for a result of 15—just
enough to notice a hidden gem in the pile!
DM: You see something sparkle inside a small skull. Looking
closer, you see it’s a gem—a garnet.
Mialee: Great! I get it out and put it in my pouch. We can try
to appraise it later. You know, I’m getting a little nervous about
that web.
Lidda: Good point. Jozan, why not light the webs on fire with
your torch?
Jozan: Okay. I do. What happens? [Looks at the DM.]

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10

have been there for many years. Your stone impacts with it, stirring up dirt and muck, and dislodges what appears to be a cylinder
about a foot long. The current quickly begins to carry it away. . . .
Lidda: Oh, no! I leap into the water and get it—at least I’ll be
able to see down there. Better, in fact, because of my low-light
vision.
DM: Hmmm. Make a Swim check.
Lidda: Uh-oh. I don’t have that skill. Untrained, I use my
Strength bonus, right? Uhh . . . don’t have one of those either.
[Rolls.] Hey! I still got a 17!
DM: You guys are rolling great tonight. Lidda, even with a
penalty for the weight of the gear you’re carrying, you succeed.
You manage to jump in and swim up to the tube just as the current
is going to sweep it out of the room and down the underground
stream. You have no idea if there would be air to breathe if you
swam down the dark, narrow passage, which seems to be completely filled with water.
Lidda: Okay, then I try to grab the tube now.
DM: Make an attack roll.
Lidda rolls high enough to grab the tube. The DM relays this information, and Lidda swims up to the surface and climbs out of the pool with the
help of the others—all of whom announce that their characters crowd
around her to see what she’s found. The DM describes the sealed tube.
Lidda: I dry off the tube a little, and then open it.
DM: Inside is a roll of vellum.
Tordek: Let’s get out of this room and back into that entry chamber where we can light torches again. It’s probably not going to be
easy to read a scroll or whatever with this air current. [The other PCs
agree, and they return to the first room, closing the door behind them.]
DM: The tube must have allowed a bit of water to seep in slowly,
because parts of the scroll are smudged and obliterated, but you
can see what looks like a map of the passages under the monastery.
You recognize the stairs down and the room with the pool and barrels. The eastern portion of the map is smeared beyond legibility,
but you see that the south passage runs out of the room you’re in
now to a blurred area, and beyond that you see a large area with
coffinlike shapes drawn along the perimeter.
Tordek: Let’s head south and see what the map is leading
toward. [Everyone agrees. Tordek lights a torch and takes the lead.]
DM: You pass down a long passage of stone blocks with an
arched ceiling about 15 feet overhead. The passage stretches for
about 60 feet, then opens into the northern portion of an unlit
chamber that looks to be about 50 feet by 50 feet to those of you
with darkvision or low-light vision. It’s completely empty and
seems to be a dead end. What do you do?
Lidda: Does this room look like the one with the coffin shapes
on the map?
DM: No. It looks more like the blotched area on the map.
Mialee: I bet there’s a secret door here. Let’s check the south
wall.
The DM decides to make the Search checks himself, hidden from the
players so that they won’t know the results. He knows that they can’t find
anything; there is a secret door 10 feet above the floor, but he doesn’t want
them to know that. Finding some holes in the wall requires no roll, so the
DM randomly determines who finds them by rolling a d4. He also makes
a Listen check for the ghouls at the far end of the secret corridor—an 18
means they have heard the party tapping on the walls looking for a
hollow spot.
DM: The wall seems solid. However . . . Tordek, you noticed
some strange holes in the wall—square places cut into the stone,
each about half a foot on a side and about that deep. There are four
all together. Each pair of holes is 10 feet apart, with one pair about
3 feet from the floor and the other pair about 6 feet up. You find
some wooden splinters in one of the holes.
Jozan: Let’s look at that map again.
Tordek: While you do that, I’ll feel around to find if the holes
have any levers or catches or anything.

DM: [Making some meaningless rolls, knowing there are no levers to
find.] You don’t find anything like that, Tordek.
Mialee: The only thing I can think of is that the holes are sockets for some sort of wooden construction.
Lidda: Sure! How about a ramp or stairs? How high is the ceiling in this place?
DM: Oh, about 25 feet.
Lidda: How about hoisting me up and letting me search up
high?
Jozan: Good idea. Tordek, will you help me hold her steady?
Tordek: Sure.
Mialee: While they do that, I’ll keep a lookout to make sure
nothing sneaks up behind us from the way we came.
DM: Looks clear, Mialee. Lidda’s not heavy, so you guys don’t
have to make Strength checks to lift her. You do have to make
them to hold her steady so that she can . . . What is it you’re going
to do once you’re hoisted up, Lidda?
Lidda: I’ll scan the stone first to see if markings or some operating device is evident.
DM: Okay, how about those Strength checks? Tordek, you’re
stronger, so Jozan is helping you rather than the other way around.
If the cleric can succeed on a check against DC 10, he’ll add +2 to
Tordek’s attempt.
The check results are good enough that Tordek and Jozan are able to
hold Lidda steady, so the DM makes a Search check for Lidda. She finds
something.
DM: Lidda, you find some stone projections that seem rather
smooth, as if worn by use.
Lidda: Then I’ll see if I can move any of the knobs. Maybe they’ll
open a secret door. I’ll pull, push, twist, turn, and slide. . . .
DM: Okay. One of the fist-sized projections moves inward, and
there’s a grinding sound. A 10-foot-by-10-foot section of the wall,
10 feet above the floor in the center of the south wall, swings
inward and to the right.
Lidda: I’ll pull myself up into the doorway, and then I’ll see if I
can use my tools to somehow anchor a rope up here to help the
others climb.
DM: You get up there, and you’re looking around for a crack or
something to wedge a spike into, right? Make a Spot check.
The Spot check is actually to see if Lidda sees the ghouls waiting in the
darkness, but Lidda doesn’t know that (although the fact that the DM didn’t
ask for a Search check might have tipped off a more experienced player).
Lidda: Oops. I rolled a 7.
Now the DM begins rolling attacks for the ghouls. The players ask
what’s going on, and why he’s rolling dice, but his silence adds to the tension and suspense. The ghouls hit Lidda with their paralyzing touch.
DM: Lidda, make a Fortitude save.
Lidda: Oh, no! Why? A trap? [Rolls.] Arrgh—a 1. This is where
our luck runs out.
DM: [To the others.] You see a sickly gray arm strike the halfling
as she’s looking around at the floor where she stands, 10 feet above
you. She utters a muffled cry, and then a shadowy form drags her
out of sight. What do you do?

RUNNING A GAME SESSION

After everything is prepared, and everyone sits down at the table,
you’re on. It’s your show. Here are some points to consider, while
at the table and before you ever get there, to help the game run as
smoothly as possible.

KNOWING THE PLAYERS
Normally, but not always, the DM is in charge of inviting players
to play in his or her game. If this is the case, it’s your responsibility
to know and understand each of these people well enough that
you can be reasonably sure that they’ll all get along, work well
together, and enjoy the sort of game you run.

A lot of this has to do with playing style. Ultimately, you have to
know the kind of game your players want to play—and, with players new to the game or a newly formed group, this knowledge may
take a while to emerge. Recognize that while you’re in charge, it’s
really everybody’s game—and that the players are all here, coming
back session after session, because they trust that you’ll help them
have a fun and rewarding gaming experience.

Table Rules

CHAPTER 1:

WORKING WITH PLAYERS

RUNNING
THE GAME

One thing that will help everyone, players and DM alike, to all get
along is establishing a set of rules—rules that having nothing to
do with the actual game but that govern what happens with the
people around the table.
Some table rules issues that you’ll need to deal with eventually
are discussed below. It’s best to come up with the answers before
you start a regular campaign. You can establish these yourself, or
you can work them out with your players.
Nonattending Players: Sometimes a regular player can’t show
up for a game session. The others are faced with the question of
what to do with his or her character. You have several choices.
• Someone else runs that character for the session (and thus runs
two characters at once). This is easiest on you, but sometimes the
fill-in player resents the task, or the replaced player is unhappy
with what happened to the character in his or her absence.
• You run the character as though he or she were an NPC. This
might actually be the best solution, but don’t do it if running a
character and running the game at the same time is too much
for you and hurts the whole session.
• The character, like the player, can’t be present for this adventure. This solution only works in certain in-game situations, but
if it makes sense for the character to be absent, that’s a handy
way to take the character out of the action for a game session.
Ideally, the reason for the character’s absence is one that allows
him or her to jump back in with a minimum of fuss when the
player is available again. (The character may have some other
commitment, or she might fall victim to some minor disease,
for instance.)
• The character fades into the background for this session. This is
probably the least desirable solution, because it strains everyone’s suspension of disbelief.
Recognize that players come and go. Someone will move away,
another’s regular life will become busier, and yet another will
grow tired of the game. They’ll quit. At the same time, new players
will want to join in. Make sure always to keep the group at a size
that you’re comfortable with. The normal-sized group is around
four players (with the DM as the fifth person). However, some
groups are as small as two players, and others as large as eight or
more. (Very large groups sometime use a nonplayer assistant who
helps manage player actions, rules referencing, and NPCs to help
the DM keep from getting bogged down.) You can also play the
game one on one, with just one player and a DM, but that’s a very
different sort of play experience. (It’s a good way to handle special
missions such as a paladin’s atonement.)
If you can, try to find out from the players how long they’re
interested in playing, and try to get a modest commitment from
them to show up on a regular basis during that time.
Integrating New Players: When someone new joins the campaign, his or her character needs to be integrated into the game. At
the same time, the player needs to be integrated into the group.
Make sure that a new player knows the table rules as well as the
game rules.
Dice Conventions: When someone makes a roll and the die
lands on the floor, do you reroll it or use the die as it lies? What do
you do with a die that lands cocked against a book? Are players
required to make all die rolls where the DM can see them? These
questions have no right or wrong answers, but deciding your
group’s answers ahead of time will save you from arguments later.

Book Use: It’s best if you decide ahead of time which books
(other than the Player’s Handbook) a player can reference during a
playing session.
Rules Discussions: It’s probably best if players don’t question
your rulings or established rules, propose changes to the rules, or
conduct discussions on other aspects of the game (aside from
what’s immediately at hand) during the game itself. Such matters
are best addressed at the beginning or end of the session.
Jokes and Off-Topic Discussions: There are always funny
things to be said, movie quotes, good gossip, and other conversations that crop up during the game, whether they’re inspired by
what’s going on in the session or completely extraneous. Decide
for yourself (and as a group) how much is too much. Remember
that this is a game and people are there to have fun, yet at the same
time keep the focus on the actions of the characters, so the whole
playing session doesn’t pass in idle chat.
Two players want the same magic item. Each thinks his character
can use it best or deserves it for what he’s done. If the players
can’t find a way to decide who gets it, you will have to arbitrate or
impose a solution. Or, worse, one player is angry with another
player for something that happened earlier that day outside the
game, so now his character tries to harass or even kill the other
player’s character. You shouldn’t sit back and let this happen. It’s
up to you to step in and help resolve conflicts such as these.
You’re a sort of master of ceremonies as well as an umpire during
the game. Talk with the arguing players together or separately
outside the game session and try to resolve the conflict. Make it
clear as nicely as you can that you can’t let anyone’s arguments
ruin the game for the other players and that you won’t tolerate
real-world hard feelings affecting the way characters within the
game react to each other.
If a player gets angry when you rule against her, be firm but
kind in telling her that you try your best to be fair and that you
can’t have angry outbursts spoiling everyone else’s fun. Settle the
matter outside the game session. Listen to her complaints, but
remember that you’re the final arbiter, and that by agreeing to play
in your game she has also agreed to accept your decisions as DM
(see When Bad Things Happen to Good Characters, page 18).
Sometimes one player’s actions ruin the fun for everyone. An
obnoxious, irresponsible, troublemaking player can make the
game really unpleasant. Sometimes he gets other characters killed
because of his actions. Other times he stops the game altogether
with arguments, tantrums, or off-topic conversations. Still other
times he might keep everyone from playing by being late or not
showing up at all. Ultimately, you should get rid of this player.
Don’t invite him next time. Don’t play the game with someone you
wouldn’t enjoy spending time with in another social setting.
If one player dominates the game and monopolizes your time
with her character’s actions, the other players will quickly grow
dissatisfied. Make sure everyone gets his or her turn. Also, make
sure each player gets to make his or her own decisions. (Overeager
or overbearing players sometimes try to tell the others what to do.)
If one player insists on controlling everything, talk to him outside
the game session and explain that his actions are making things
less fun for everyone.

METAGAME THINKING
“I figure there’ll be a lever on the other side of the pit that deactivates the trap,” a player says to the others, “because the DM would
never create a trap that we couldn’t deactivate somehow.” That’s an
example of metagame thinking. Any time the players base their
characters’ actions on logic that depends on the fact that they’re
playing a game; they’re using metagame thinking. This behavior
should always be discouraged, because it detracts from real roleplaying and spoils the suspension of disbelief.

11

RUNNING
THE GAME

CHAPTER 1:

12

Surprise your players by foiling metagame thinking. Suppose
the other side of the pit has a lever, for example, but it’s rusted and
useless. Keep your players on their toes, and don’t let them secondguess you. Tell them to think in terms of the game world, not in
terms of you as the DM. In the game world, someone made the
trap in the dungeon for a purpose. You have figured out the reason
why the trap exists, and the PCs will need to do the same.
In short, when possible you should encourage the players to
employ in-game logic. Confronted with the situation given above,
an appropriate response from a clever character is “I figure there’ll
be a lever on the other side of the pit that deactivates the trap,
because the gnomes who constructed the trap must have a means
to deactivate it.” In fact, this is wonderful—it shows smart thinking as well as respect for the verisimilitude of the game world.

KNOWING THE PCS
One advantage that you always have over a professional writer
designing an adventure is that you know your players. You know
what they like, what they’re likely to do, what their capabilities
are, and what’s going on in your campaign right now. That’s why
even when you use a published adventure, you’ll want to work to
ensure that it gets integrated into your campaign properly.
A good DM will always know the following facts about the
characters in his or her game.
The Characters’ Basic Statistics: This includes class, race, level,
hit points, save and attack bonuses, spells, and special abilities. You
should be able to look at a monster’s hit points, AC, and special qualities and be able to judge whether it’s a fitting challenge. Compare,
for example, the monster’s AC with the attack bonuses of the characters in the group—particularly the fighters. When you assume
average rolls, can the fighters hit the creature? Do they need aboveaverage rolls? (If so, the challenge will be great.) Do they need a natural 20? (If so, the challenge is almost certainly too difficult.)
Examine the attack bonus of the monster. Look at the damage it
can deal. When you compare these pieces of information to the
AC and hit points of the PCs, will the monster be able to hit or
seriously damage the characters? Will it almost certainly kill one?
If the monster’s attack bonus added to an average d20 roll hits the
character’s AC, and the average damage dealt is more than the PC’s
total hit points, the monster will kill the character. When you look
at the save DCs for the monster’s special attacks, are the characters
likely to successfully resist the attack?
These sorts of questions and analyses allow you to judge monsters, encounters, and adventures and determine whether they are
appropriate for your group. Challenge Rating assignments for
such obstacles will help, but no one knows your group of characters as well as you do. (See Chapter 3: Adventures for details about
Challenge Ratings.)
Keep a record of all the characters, their abilities, spells, hit
points, AC, and so forth. One way to do this is to require the players to give you a new copy of their character sheet whenever the
character attains a new level. This information is helpful to you for
balancing encounters and monitoring hit point loss and spell
depletion during play. It’s also very handy if a player can’t make it
to a session, enabling you to simply hand the character sheet to
whoever is running the character for that session.
The Players’ Likes and Dislikes: Some groups hate political
intrigue and avoid or ignore it in favor of going down into the
dungeon. Other groups are more likely to run from a serious combat challenge. Some groups prefer adventures with mind flayers
and psionics. Some don’t. You’re the best judge, if you’re aware of
what the players like and what entices them, of whether they will
partake in and enjoy a particular encounter or adventure.
For example, a DM might find that the lure of gold motivates
the PCs in her group. She knows, then, that in order to get them
involved in the adventure she has written (or purchased), there
has to be some treasure involved, and the PCs need to know about

it ahead of time. Another group, however, might be interested in
heroic deeds. They don’t care about money, but if they hear that
the duchy’s in danger from a storm-controlling wizard, they’re off
to stop him in a flash.
Nothing’s more frustrating for a DM than to create an adventure and provide the PCs with the hook that will bring them into
the action, only to have them ignore or even consciously reject it.
No one wants to see his or her adventure go unplayed. Know what
interests and motivates the group, and you’ll be able to avoid this
disheartening possibility.
What’s Going on in the Campaign: Since you’re managing
the events in the game, you need to keep track of what’s going on
anyway. It’s important to always know what the characters are
doing and a little about their plans. If the PCs want to leave the
area and head into the mountains to find one of the characters’ old
mentors, you need to keep that in mind when preparing that session’s adventure and in planning ahead for future sessions.
Keep a record of every significant event that occurs in the game.
A timeline can help you keep track of when events happened in
relation to each other (especially handy for monitoring the activities of recurring villains). Above all, make sure you always have a
good grasp of NPCs’ names (particularly ones you’re forced to
make up in the middle of the game), so that the name of the king
doesn’t change abruptly from session to session. And of course you
should remember what the PCs have accomplished, where they
have been, enemies they have made, and so forth.

KNOWING THE ADVENTURE AND
OTHER MATERIALS
You’re running the game, so you have to know everything. Well,
maybe not everything, but certainly enough to keep things moving. If you know the PCs want to head into the mountains, it’s
helpful if, ahead of time, you have looked into how mountain
travel affects their movement, what it’s like to be in the mountains
(possibly through some research in an encyclopedia or travel
book), and other considerations (climbing gear, mountain
encounters, and the like). If you have a chance to try rock climbing, or if you’ve done it before, so much the better—there’s nothing like personal experience to lend realism to your descriptions.
More to the point, you will want to have prepared as much as
you can for the adventure ahead of time. You will want to have figured out what will happen when, the layout of the area (both the
large-scale landscape and individual encounter areas), what the
PCs will encounter if they go to a particular area, how NPCs encountered in the adventure will react to the PCs, and the events
likely to happen (such as a conversation or a fight).
When you are running a published adventure, this preparation
often amounts to reading the material carefully and making notes
where you need them. Useful points to note might include any of
the following.
• Page numbers in the rulebook for rules you know you’ll need to
reference in a given encounter.
• Changes needed for the adventure to fit into your campaign.
• Changes you want to make to please your tastes or those of your
group.
• Preplanned actions you want NPCs to take in a given encounter
(ambushes, dying speeches, spell sequences).
• Reminders to yourself about rules, adventure structure, events
that might occur (such as random encounter checks), or the
consequences of certain actions.
If you are designing an adventure on your own, your preparation
requires (obviously) a lot more time. This preparation might include any of the following elements.
• Maps of the area (large scale) and of specific smaller areas where
encounters are likely to occur. These can be as simple and
sketchy or as detailed as you like.

KNOWING THE RULES
If you know that the aerial combat rules will be needed to play out
the battle in which the PCs are mounted on griffons and the gargoyles attack them, review those rules before playing. When rules
less often used come into play in the course of the adventure, it
slows things down if you have to reread them in the midst of a
game. Looking over commonly used rules—such as descriptions
for spells you know NPCs or PCs have prepared, or even the basic
combat rules—before a game session is always a good idea.
When a player has a rules question, you should be the one best
able to answer the question. Mastery of the rules is one reason
why the DM is sometimes called the referee.
No matter how well you know the rules, though, a player might
remember some point that didn’t occur to you. Most players, quite
properly, won’t lord it over you if they know some rules better
than you do. If someone else at the table corrects your recollection
of a rule or adds some point you hadn’t thought of, thank that
player for his help. When people cooperate to make the game
better, everyone benefits.

KEEPING GAME BALANCE
A lot of people talk about game balance. They refer to rules they
like as “balanced,” and rules that don’t seem to work as “unbalanced.” But what does “game balance” really mean? All game balance does is to ensure that most character choices are relatively
equal in terms of their chances for success. A balanced game is one
in which one character doesn’t dominate over the rest because of a
choice that he or she made (race, class, skill, feat, spell, and so on).
It also reflects that the characters aren’t too powerful for the
threats they face; yet, neither are they hopelessly overmatched.
The two factors that drive game balance are discussed below.
Good DM Management: A DM who carefully watches all
portions of the game so that nothing gets out of his or her control helps keep the game balanced. PCs and NPCs, victories and
defeats, awards and afflictions, treasure found and treasure
spent—all these aspects must be monitored to maintain balance.
No one character should become significantly greater than the
others. If this does happen, the others should have an opportunity to catch up in short order. The PCs as a whole should never
get so powerful that all the challenges become trivial to them.
Nor should they be constantly overwhelmed by what they
must face. It’s no fun to always lose, and always winning gets
boring fast. (These types of games are known as “killer dungeons” and “Monty Haul games,” respectively.) When temporary
imbalances do occur, it’s easier to fix them by altering the challenges than by changing anything about the PCs and their
powers or equipment. No one likes to get something (a new

CHAPTER 1:

This preparation can amount to a lot of work. However, not every
adventure is going to require reams of notes in order to play. Not
every DM likes to prepare detailed notes ahead of time. Some have
more fun if they just “wing it.” And sometimes a DM would like to
be better prepared, but there just isn’t time. Find the style of Dungeon Mastering that suits you best.

magic sword, for example), only to have it taken away again
because it was too unbalancing.
Player–DM Trust: Players should trust the DM. Trust can be
gained over time by consistent use of the rules, by not taking sides
(that is, not favoring one player at another’s expense), and by making it clear that you’re not vindictive toward the players or the PCs.
If the players trust you—and through you, the game system—
they will recognize that anything that enters the game has been
carefully considered. If you adjudicate a situation, the players
should be able to trust it as a fair call and not question or secondguess it. That way, the players can focus their attention on playing
their characters, succeeding in the game, and having fun, trusting
you to take care of matters of fairness and realism. They also trust
that you will do whatever you can to make sure they are able to
enjoy playing their characters, can potentially succeed in the
game, and will have fun. If this degree of trust can be achieved,
you will be much more free to add or change things in your game
without worrying about the players protesting or scrutinizing
every decision.

RUNNING
THE GAME

• A key to the map or maps detailing special areas and what
might be encountered in each one, including foes, allies, treasure, traps, environmental situations, and possibly even
descriptions of what the PCs see, hear, and experience upon
entering an area.
• NPC listings that include their statistics and notes on their
potential reactions.
• Bookmarks in the rulebooks (or notes listing page numbers) for
rules that might need to be referenced.
• Notes on the overall story or plot of the adventure if it is
complex.
• Statistics for any new monsters you’re introducing.

Handling Unbalanced PCs
Sometimes, though, the unexpected will happen. The characters
may defeat a villain, foiling what the villain (and you) thought was
an unstoppable escape plan, and gain a vorpal sword that you never
intended to fall into their hands. PCs entrusted to deliver an artifact to its rightful owner may decide to simply keep it instead. Or,
even more likely, the combination of some new acquisition with
an item or spell or power a character already has will prove unbalancing in a way you didn’t foresee.
When a mistake is made, and a PC ends up too powerful, all is
not yet lost. In fact, it’s usually simple to increase the challenges
that the character faces to keep him or her from breezing through
encounters. However, this way of solving the problem can be
unsatisfying, and it can mean that the encounters become too difficult for the other PCs. At the same time, as already noted, it’s
never fun to lose some new aspect of your character that turns out
to be unbalancing. From the player’s point of view, it’s not his or
her fault.
You have two options.
Deal with the Problem In-Game: “In-game” is a term used to
describe something that happens in the story created by the play
of the game. For example, suppose a PC becomes an unbalanced
character by using a wish spell to give herself the ability to cast all
her prepared spells twice rather than once. (This should never
happen from a wish, but DMs do make mistakes.) An in-game solution might be to have an enemy cleric use a miracle to rob her of
that newfound ability. Whatever you do, try not to make it obvious
that the situation is actually just a tool to balance the game.
Instead, make it seem just a part of the adventure. (If you don’t,
indignant players will get very angry.)
Deal with the Problem Out-of-Game: “Out-of-game” means
something that takes place in the real world but has an impact on
the game itself. An out-of-game solution to the problem described
in the last paragraph would be to take the player aside between sessions and explain that the game has become unbalanced because of
her character—things need to change, or the game may fall apart.
A reasonable person will see the value in continuing the game, and
she’ll work with you either in-game (perhaps donating a powerful
item to an appropriate NPC guardian) or out-of-game (perhaps by
erasing the unbalancing power or item from her character sheet
and just pretending it was never there). Be warned, however, that
some players may dislike this amount of intrusion on your part and
resent giving up a great ability or item their character “earned.”
Even if they don’t tell you to forget about it, they’ll begrudge the
loss. What’s worse, after an unfortunate exchange of this type, it
will seem obvious and contrived if you try to balance things with
an in-game solution. Nobody said DMing was easy.

13

CHANGING THE RULES
Beyond simply adjudicating, sometimes you are going to want to
change things. That’s okay. However, changing the rules is a challenge for a DM with only a little experience.

RUNNING
THE GAME

CHAPTER 1:

Altering the Way Things Work
Every rule in the Player’s Handbook was written for a reason. That
doesn’t mean you can’t change some rules for your own game. Perhaps your players don’t like the way initiative is determined, or
you find that the rules for learning new spells are too limiting.
Rules that you change for your own game are called house rules.
Given the creativity of gamers, almost every campaign will, in
time, develop its own house rules.
The ability to use the mechanics as you wish is paramount to
the way roleplaying games work—providing a framework for you
and the players to create a campaign. Still, changing the way the
game does something shouldn’t be taken lightly. If the Player’s
Handbook presents the rules, then throughout the Dungeon Master’s
Guide you will find explanations for why those rules are the way
they are. Read these explanations carefully, and realize the implications for making changes.
Consider the following questions when you want to change
a rule.
• Why am I changing this rule?
• Am I clear on how the rule that I’m going to change really
works?
• Have I considered why the rule existed as it did in the first
place?
• How will the change impact other rules or situations?
• Will the change favor one class, race, skill, or feat more than the
others?
• Overall, is this change going to make more players happy or
unhappy? (If the answer is “happy,” make sure the change isn’t
unbalancing. If the answer is “unhappy,” make sure the change
is worth it.)
Often, players want to help redesign rules. This can be okay,
since the game exists for the enjoyment of all its participants,
and creative players can often find ways to fine-tune a rule. Be
receptive to player concerns about game mechanics. At the
same time, however, be wary of players who (whether selfishly
or innocently) want to change the rules for their own benefit.
The D&D game system is flexible, but it’s also meant to be a balanced set of rules. Players may express a desire to have the rules
always work in their favor, but the reality is that if there were no
challenges for the characters, the game would quickly grow
dull. Resist the temptation to change the rules just to please
your players. Make sure that a change genuinely improves your
campaign for everybody.

ADDITIONS TO THE GAME
As DM, you get to make up your own spells, magic items, races,
and monsters. Your campaign might have a real need for a spell
that turns foes to crystal, or a monster covered in dozens of tentacles that drains heat from living creatures. Adding new races,
spells, monsters, and magic items can be a really entertaining and
rewarding experience.
On the downside, an addition to the game can spoil game balance. As stated earlier, maintaining balance is an important DM
responsibility. Most unbalancing factors are actually hasty or illconsidered DM creations. Don’t let that happen to you.
One way to judge whether a new skill, feat, spell, or other option is balanced is to ask yourself, “If I add this to the game, is it
so good that everyone will want to have it?” At the same time,
ask yourself, “Is this so limited that no one will be interested in
it?” Keep in mind that it’s easier and more tempting to create
something that’s too good rather than not good enough. Watch
yourself.

Making Mistakes
A magic item that allows the characters to move through walls
unhindered, giving them easy access to all sorts of places you do
not want them to go (at least without great effort), is a mistake.
A 4th-level spell that kills multiple foes with no saving throw is
a mistake. A race without a level adjustment that has bonuses of
+4 to Strength and Dexterity is a mistake.
Usually, the mistakes that creep into a campaign are the ones
that seem innocuous at first. A 1st-level spell creating a blast of
wind that knocks a foe down appears to be fine—until a shrewd
player uses it to knock a powerful opponent off the edge of a cliff.
On the other hand, you’ll know right away that you should never
have put a staff of disintegration with unlimited charges in that treasure chest, or you should never have allowed your players to persuade you that the game would be more fun if critical hits multiplied all damage by five.
When things get unbalanced, you need to fix them either ingame or out-of-game, depending on the situation and the involved
players’ personalities. Unbalanced character abilities or items are
best handled in-game, but rule changes can only be handled outof-game. Sometimes it’s best for you to admit to the players that
you made a mistake, and now it needs to be fixed in order to keep
the game fun, balanced, and running smoothly. The more reasonable you are, the more likely your players are to understand.

SETTING THE STAGE
It’s worth stating again: Once the game starts, it’s all up to you. The
players are likely to take their cues from you on how to act and
react. If you handle the game seriously, they’ll be more likely to

pqqqqrs
EQUIPMENT FOR RUNNING THE GAME

14

The following kinds of equipment are available to streamline or
enhance your game. They’re not for everyone, however.
DM Screen: This is a cardstock screen (available in many game and
hobby stores) that stands up on the table between you and the players. It
has useful tables and rules reminders on it to speed play. You can also clip
notes to it, so you can see them but the players can’t. Behind this screen,
you can put your maps and records on the table, and roll dice where the
players can’t see what you’re doing. The only drawback is that a screen
creates a wall between you and the players, which can be distancing. DMs
who wish to have the information on the screen handy but don’t want to
set themselves apart from the players sometimes lay the screen flat on
the table in front of them, hiding adventure notes underneath.
Counters: If you don’t have miniature figures for every character or
creature the PCs encounter, you can use any sorts of counters to

represent characters and monsters: printed counters with pictures of
the creatures, poker chips, checkers, coins, scraps of paper—anything
you want.
Computers: With a computer at the table (or at your side nearby,
but shielded from players), you can keep all your notes and maps in
electronic files easily searched and referenced during the game.
Special DM utility programs are available that manage NPCs, PCs,
monsters, treasure, and other kinds of information. Some will determine random encounters, create characters, and generate random
numbers. Not all roleplaying groups prefer to use a computer,
however, because of the tendency of the machine to draw the DM’s
attention away from the players and the game. If you find yourself staring at the screen more than at your players, consider scaling back the
computer’s in-game use and restrict it to generating or manipulating
material between sessions.

pqqqqrs

take it seriously. If you come across with a relaxed, lighthearted
tone, they will crack a few jokes and make side comments of their
own. You make the game the way you want it to be.

Recapping

Metal or plastic figures are used to represent characters, monsters,
and scenery in the game. You can use them on a grid to determine and
regulate the distance between individuals, tactical movement, line of
sight, and areas of spell effects. This book includes a two-sided poster
map containing a sample dungeon on one side and a 1-inch grid on
the other. (For regular use, a vinyl mat with a grid that you can write
on with wipe-off markers is especially useful. Mats of this sort are
often available at the same hobby and game stores that sell dice.)
Even without a grid, you can use miniatures arrayed on the
table to show marching order and relative position, or you can use
a tape measure and a scale of 1 inch = 5 feet to determine distances
on the tabletop precisely. Sometimes position in combat means
the difference between life and death, and miniature figures (perhaps along with other suitable objects to represent terrain features
or dungeon furnishings) help everyone agree on the locations of
characters, creatures, and significant objects.
With a little searching, a player can usually find a miniature
that resembles the character he or she wants to play, and perhaps
is even posed the way the character would carry himself or herself.

MAPPING
When one of the players is drawing a map as the characters explore
a new place, give her a break. Describe the layout of the place in as
much detail as she wants, including dimensions of rooms. For clarity, you might draw out the shape and size of a room on a grid in
front of you. Be willing to repeat a description if needed. Describe
anything the characters should be able to see (considering illumination and their own vision capabilities) or reasonably estimate
(such as the distance to the far wall of a cavern).

The pace of the game determines how much time you spend on a
given activity or action taken by the characters. Different players
enjoy different paces. Some players have their characters pick up
every copper piece; others decide it’s not worth the playing time.
Some roleplay every encounter, while some want to skip on to the
“good bits”—combat and other action-oriented activity.
Do your best to please the group, but above all, keep things
moving. Don’t feel that it’s necessary to play out rest periods,
replenishing supplies, or carrying out daily tasks unless the players want to. Sometimes that degree of detail is an opportunity to
develop characters, but most of the time it’s unimportant.
Determine ahead of time, if possible, how long the playing session will last. Doing this enables you to judge about how much
time is left at any point and pace things accordingly—you should
always end a session at a good stopping point (see Ending a Session, below). Three to four hours is a good length for an evening
game. Some people like to play longer sessions, usually on a weekend. Even if you normally play for shorter periods, sometimes it’s
fun to run a longer, “marathon” session.

CHAPTER 1:

USING MINIATURE FIGURES

PACING THE GAME SESSION

RUNNING
THE GAME

“Last time, you had just discovered the entrance to the lair of the
basilisk and learned that a tribe of goblins living nearby apparently worships the creature like a god. You were near the end of
your fifth day of traveling through the Thangrat Forest. Mialee the
wizard had suffered a great wound while fighting the initial
goblin scouts. Krusk wanted to go straight to the goblins’ camp
and deal with them then and there, but the rest of you talked him
into helping you find a suitable place to make a safe and defensible
camp. The goblins, meanwhile, were obviously preparing for a
fight, based on the sounds you had heard earlier that day. Now, as
the sun sets beyond the distant mountains, it seems as though the
basilisk is stirring within its lair. What do you do?”
In the middle of a campaign, recapping activity from the previous session (or sessions) at the start of a new session often helps
establish the mood and remind everyone what was going on. It
can be frustrating to DM and players alike that while in the game
the characters continue what they were just doing, in real life the
players have lived perhaps several days of real time between then
and now. They might have forgotten important details that will
affect their decisions if they don’t get reminders.
Of course, you need to keep notes on what happens so that
you don’t forget either. At the very least, jotting down a few sentences about what was going on at the very end of a game session
and bringing them out at the beginning of the next session is
always a good idea. You may find that you tend to think about the
game between sessions more than the players do, and thus you
have a better grasp of the events. You may get to the point where
you won’t forget what has happened in past sessions, especially
since the adventures you’re working on now will often build off
those events.

Of course, when the PCs are lost in a dungeon or walking
through fog, the whole point of the situation is that they don’t
know where they are (or where they’re going). In cases such as
these, don’t take pains to help the mapper. If the characters are
sneaking through a maze and they make a wrong turn, it’s all the
more fun when they have to backtrack.

Referencing Rules
Look at the rules only when you truly need to during a game. While
the rulebooks are here to help you, paging through a book to
double-check yourself can slow things down. Look when necessary
(and mark things you’ll need to refer to again with a bookmark), but
recall a rule from memory when you can. You may not be perfectly
correct in your recollection, but the game keeps moving.

Asking Questions
Don’t be afraid to stop and ask important questions. If the players
seem bored, ask if they would like you to skip ahead or pick up the
pace. If you’re unsure how they want to handle a situation, ask.

Taking Breaks
When you finish up a lengthy combat encounter or a tensionfilled scene, take a break. Particularly in a long playing session,
establish a few breaks for food, drinks, trips to the bathroom, or
just a little time to relax. During this time, you can take your mind
off things for a few minutes, or you can begin to prepare for the
coming encounter.

HANDLING PC ACTIONS
The important point to remember regarding the actions of player
characters during an adventure is that each player controls his or
her own character. Don’t force a character to take a specific action
(unless the character is under a magical compulsion; see below).
Don’t tell a player what his or her character’s emotions are. Even
if an NPC with a high Charisma score attempts to persuade a
character, no mere die roll should force a character into doing
something. Some rules in the game apply specifically to NPCs
and not PCs, the most significant of which are the rules concerning NPC attitudes (see NPC Attitudes, page 128, and the Diplomacy skill on page 71 of the Player’s Handbook). These rules should
never be used to enable an NPC to change the way a player character views that NPC. When running an NPC, feel free to try
praising, misleading, tricking, cajoling, or maligning a character,
but don’t use your authority as DM to exert control over what a
player character does.

15

RUNNING
THE GAME

CHAPTER 1:

Magical Compulsion
Your responsibility for dictating PC actions shifts when a player
character becomes subject to an effect (such as a charm person
spell or the domination ability of a vampire) that puts him or her
under the control of a monster or an NPC. Now the character is
compelled to do the bidding of his or her controller—represented by you.
Sometimes, adjudicating this sort of situation involves walking
a fine line: For instance, if an NPC wizard has just cast charm person
on a PC, what will you (as the wizard) order the character to do?
According to the spell description in the Player’s Handbook, “You
can try to give the subject orders, but you must win an opposed
Charisma check to convince it to do anything it wouldn’t ordinarily do.” Who decides what the PC “wouldn’t ordinarily do”—you or
the player?
The answer to that question is rarely clear-cut; at times, it may
be necessary for you and the player to come to an agreement on
what the character would “willingly” do in a certain situation. This
is one of the times in the game when you should not make decisions on your own—confer briefly with the player of the PC, and,
assuming both of you are reasonable about the scope of what the
character would do, it shouldn’t be difficult to adjudicate the effect
of the spell.
As stipulated in an adventure you have written (or purchased),
an NPC or a monster who gains control of a character may be
motivated by goals that give you an idea of what to order the PC
to do. Sometimes, the character’s response to such an order (or
the character’s opportunity to make an opposed Charisma
check) will be easy to determine; at other times, you
may need to reach an agreement with the player
as discussed above.

Adventurers make careful plans regarding
their next adventure.

16

HANDLING NPC ACTIONS
Normally, NPCs should obey all the same rules as PCs. Occasionally, you might want to fudge the rules for them in one way or
another (see DM Cheating and Player Perceptions, below), but in
general, NPCs should live and die—fail and succeed—by the
dice, just as PCs do.
Be as quick—or quicker—to decide what the NPCs do on their
turn as the players are when deciding the PCs’ actions. To keep
things moving, be ready ahead of time with what each given NPC
will do. (Since you know ahead of time that the encounter is
coming, you can prepare better than the players can.) Jot down
NPC strategies alongside their game statistics.
Still, NPCs are people too. Don’t let it be obvious to the players
that a particular character is “just an NPC,” implying that what he
or she does isn’t as smart or important as what a PC does. While that
might be true, it shouldn’t seem to be true. In order to make the
game world seem real, the people who populate it should act real.

DESCRIBING THE ACTION
The players take all their cues from you. If you describe something
incompletely or poorly, the players have no chance of understanding what’s going on in the game world. While this is important all
the time that you’re running a game, it’s crucial that you do it well
during combats.
Your descriptions of each action that occurs, the locations of all
important objects and participants, and the general environment are
all crucial to the players’ abilities to make intelligent decisions for
their characters. Thus, you need to be clear about everything. Allow
the players to ask questions and answer them as concisely as you
can. Refer to each character distinctly. If you call each NPC “that
guy,” the players will never know
what you mean. If a monster
attacks, describe its
horns, bite, or claws
so that the players
understand what
the beast is
doing.

When an NPC takes a combat action, the players sometimes need
to have a clue about what’s going on—both in the fictional reality
of the game and in terms of the game’s mechanics. This means that
when a lizardfolk with a crossbow is taking a ready action to cover
the area in front of a door, the players should have a pretty good
idea that if they move in front of that door, the lizardfolk is going
to shoot them.
You need to think about what various actions look like while
they’re happening. If you were all watching the combat in a movie,
what would you see when a character casts a spell or does something else that none of you have ever seen a real person do? Be dramatic, and describe the action fully, but avoid overexplaining,
because that will slow down the flow of the action. Be consistent
as well, because your words are not just description, they’re cues
by which the players make game decisions. If the last time someone used the aid another action, you described it as “distracting”
and “harrying,” use those words again. If that means that pretty
soon your players listen to your description and then say, “Ooh,
the wizard must be casting a spell,” you have accomplished something good—the players have learned your verbal cues to spellcasting. Not only does that allow them to make good decisions
based on your descriptions, but it lends believability to the fictional world you are creating.

Action
Charge
Full defense
Aid another
Ready a
ranged weapon
Cast a spell

Cast a stilled spell
Cast a quickened
spell
Cast a silenced
spell
Use a special ability

Activate a
magic item
Delay

Description
“He lunges forward at full speed, eyes full of
violence.”
“She raises her weapon and watches your
attacks, attempting to parry each one.”
“While his ally attacks, he darts in and out of
the fight, distracting his foe.”
“He’s got his weapon trained on that
area, obviously waiting for something.”
“He moves his hands in a deliberate manner
and utters words that sound more like an
invocation than a sentence.”
“She speaks a few short words, staring
intently.”
“With a word and a flick of his hand, . . .”

CHAPTER 1:

NPC Actions

Here are some vivid descriptions you can use to tell players
what’s going on when a character takes a certain action.

RUNNING
THE GAME

If the players do not seem to have understood something you
said, say it again. Sometimes important points are lost among lots
of new description. Don’t be afraid to repeat that a great deal of
heat comes up from the grate, or each time the dragonne moves,
the ceiling rumbles and dust shakes down onto the floor. The
worst that can happen is that players are reminded how important
the statement is, and they will act accordingly.
When a character moves, add background. Say “The manticore
moves away from the opening in the far wall, where the foul smell
seems to originate,” or “The barbarian steps even closer to the pit,”
or “The roper slides slowly across the uneven floor.” When a character uses an object, describe the object. “The warrior slashes you
with his wavy-bladed dagger” is much better than “He hits you for
3 points of damage.”
The tone of your descriptions controls the flow of an encounter
and the mood that the encounter projects over the entire group. If
you speak quickly and intently, this lends intensity to the action. If
your words are frantic, they will make the mood of the scene seem
urgent and desperate.
Sometimes it’s effective to add a little pantomime to your descriptions. If a PC’s opponent raises his huge two-handed sword
above his head to attack the character, raise your hands as if you
are grasping the sword’s hilt. When someone takes a terrible hit in
battle, flinch or recoil with a momentary look of mock pain. If the
PCs are fighting a giant, stand up when the giant takes his actions,
looking down at the seated players.
Sometimes it’s hard to avoid saying “You miss. He hits. You
take 12 points of damage.” And sometimes, that’s okay. Long
verbal descriptions can get tedious to give and to hear, and the
game effects are the important things. However, that’s the
exception, not the rule. Most of the time, at the very least, make
that “He ducks, and slashes with his longsword for 12 points of
damage.” It is usually better in a descriptive way to talk about
dealing damage rather than taking damage. “Its claws rake for 8
points” is at least somewhat interesting, but “You take 8 points”
describes nothing.
Remember, too, that an attack that does not deal damage is not
always a miss in the ordinary sense of the word. Heavily armored
characters may be frequently hit, but their armor protects them. If
you say “His short sword glances off your plate armor,” this not
only describes the action, but makes the player feel good about his
choice to spend extra gold on the good armor.

“She does nothing but make a powerful
gesture.”
“Without using words or gestures, she calls
upon some power within herself, using her
great will and inner strength.”
“He focuses intently on his item,
drawing power from it.”
“She’s looking around, sizing up the
situation, and waiting to react.”

Interesting Combats
The spiral pathway rose up to the circular platform where the seventeen magical gems were held in stasis. Below the path, a
seething pit of raw, explosive magical energy waited like an open
maw. The four adventurers climbed up the path, eager to reach
their goal, but suddenly a quasit swooped down from some hidden
recess. Tordek drew his axe, knowing that fighting on this narrow
path would be difficult and dangerous. He wasn’t sure what would
happen if one of them fell into that magical energy, but he didn’t
want to find out.
While any combat can be exciting, you should occasionally
have the PCs face opponents in a nontraditional setting. Sometimes mounted combat, or aerial combat, can provide a change of
pace, and underwater settings can be interesting as well. A short
list of other suggestions appears below.
Factor
Pits, chasms, bridges,
and ledges
Fog
Whirling blades or
giant, spinning gears
Steam vents

Rising or lowering
platforms
Ice or other slippery
surfaces

Game Effect
Characters can attempt to push
opponents with a bull rush (see page 154 of
the Player’s Handbook).
Concealment (20% miss chance) for everyone
involved.
Characters must make DC 13 Reflex saves
each round or take 6d6 points of slashing or
bludgeoning damage.
One random character must make a DC 15
Reflex save each round or take 3d6 points of
damage from the heat.
Characters can only melee opponents at the
same elevation; platforms change elevation
every other round.
Characters must make DC 10 Balance checks
each round or fall prone, and then spend a
move action to stand.

For more ideas, see The Environment in Chapter 8: Glossary,
Chapter 3: Adventures, or take inspiration from an exciting
action movie or book.

17

DETERMINING OUTCOMES
You’re the arbiter of everything that happens in the game.
Period.

RUNNING
THE GAME

CHAPTER 1:

Rolling Dice
Some die rolls, when seen by a player, reveal too
much. A player who rolls to see if her character
finds a trap and sees that she has rolled very
poorly knows that the information you give her as
a result of the roll is probably unreliable. (“Nope. No
traps down that way, as far as you can tell.”) The game is
much more interesting when the player of a character trying to
hide or move silently does not know whether the character has
succeeded.
In cases where the player shouldn’t know the die result,
you can make the roll, keeping dice behind a screen or otherwise out of sight. While this takes some of the fun of
rolling dice away from the players (and let’s face it, that really
is a part of the fun of the game), it helps you to maintain control over what the player knows and doesn’t know.
Consider making checks involving the following
skills for the player where he or she can’t see the
result: Bluff, Diplomacy, Hide, Listen, Move
Silently, Use Rope, Search, and Spot.
Do this on a case-by-case basis. When possible,
always let players make the rolls themselves.
When it would increase suspense to keep them in
the dark, roll the dice yourself.

DCs, ACs, and Saving Throws
Don’t tell players what they need to roll to succeed. Don’t tell
them what all the modifiers are to the roll. Instead, tell the players
that keeping track of all those things is your job. Then, when they
roll the dice, tell them whether they succeed or fail.
This is important so that players focus on what their characters
are doing, not on the numbers. It’s also a way to hide sneaky monster tactics or the occasional DM cheat (see below).

DM CHEATING AND
PLAYER PERCEPTIONS

18

Terrible things can happen in the game because the dice just go
awry. Everything might be going fine, when suddenly the
players have a run of bad luck. A round later, half the party’s
down for the count and the other half almost certainly can’t
take on the foes that remain. If everyone dies, the campaign
might very well end then and there, and that’s bad for everyone. Do you stand by and watch them get slaughtered, or do
you “cheat” and have the foes run off, or fudge the die rolls so
that the PCs still miraculously win in the end? There are
really two issues at hand.
Do you cheat? The answer: The DM really can’t cheat. You’re
the umpire, and what you say goes. As such, it’s certainly within
your rights to sway things one way or another to keep people
happy or keep things running smoothly. It’s no fun losing a longterm character who gets run over by a cart. A good rule of thumb
is that a character shouldn’t die in a trivial way because of some
fluke of the dice unless he or she was doing something really
stupid at the time.
However, you might not think it’s right or even fun unless you
obey the same rules the players do. Sometimes the PCs get lucky
and kill an NPC you had planned to have around for a long time.
By the same token, sometimes things go against the PCs, and disaster may befall them. Both the DM and the players take the bad
with the good. That’s a perfectly acceptable way to play, and if
there’s a default method of DMing, that’s it.
Just as important an issue, however, is whether the players realize that you bend the rules. Even if you decide that sometimes it’s

okay to fudge a little to let the characters survive so the game can
continue, don’t let the players in on this decision. It’s important to the
game that they believe their characters are always in danger. If the
players believe, consciously or subconsciously, that you’ll never let
bad things happen to their characters, they’ll change the way they
act. With no element of risk, victory will seem less sweet. And if
thereafter something bad does happen to a character, that player
may believe you’re out to get him if he feels you saved other players when their characters were in trouble.

When Bad Things Happen to Good Characters
Characters suffer setbacks, lose magic items, take ability score
penalties, lose levels, and die (sometimes repeatedly). Unfortunate events are part of the game, almost as much as success, gaining levels, earning treasure, and attaining
greatness. But players don’t always take it well when
something bad happens to their characters.
Remind players that sometimes bad things happen.
Challenges are what the game’s all about. Point out that
a setback can be turned into an opportunity to succeed
later. If a character dies, encourage the other players (perhaps subtly) to have their characters get the dead character raised
or resurrected. If doing this is not an option, reassure the player of
the dead character that there are lots of opportunities in new character types she hasn’t yet tried. A bard somewhere will pen a ballad
about the fallen character’s heroic demise even as the group welcomes her new PC. The game goes on.
It’s rare but possible that an entire party can be wiped out.
In such a case, don’t let this catastrophe end the whole
game. NPC adventurers might find the PCs and have
them raised or resurrected, putting the PCs deeply in
their debt (an adventure hook if ever there was
one). The players can create a temporary party for
the purpose of retrieving the bodies of the fallen
adventurers for raising or at least honorable burial.
Or, everyone can roll up new characters and start
anew. Even that’s not really so bad—in fact, it’s an opportunity for
a dramatic change of pace.

ENDING A SESSION
Try not to end a game session in the middle of an encounter. Leaving everything hanging in this way is a terrible note to end on. It’s
difficult to keep track of information such as initiative order,
spell durations, and other round-by-round details
between sessions. The only exception to this guideline is
when you purposely end a session with a cliffhanger. A
cliffhanger ending is one in which the story pauses just as
something monumental happens or some surprising turn of
events occurs. The purpose is to keep players intrigued and
excited until the next session.
If someone was missing from a session and you had her character leave the party for a while, make sure that there’s a way to work
her character back in when she returns. Sometimes a cliffhanger
can serve this purpose—the PC comes racing into the thick of
things like the cavalry to help her beleaguered friends.
Allow some time (a few minutes will do) at the end of play to
have everyone discuss the events of the session. Listen to their
reactions so you can learn more of what they like and don’t like.
Reinforce what you thought were good decisions and smart actions on their parts (unless such information gives too much away
for the adventure). Always end the session on a positive note.
You may want to award experience points at the end of each session, or you might wait until the end of each adventure. That’s up
to you. However, the standard procedure is to give them out at the
end of each session, so players whose characters go up a level have
time to choose new spells, buy skills, and take care of other details
related to level advancement.

Illus. by A. Swekel

his chapter covers the rules you need to play the DUNGEONS
& DRAGONS game, from the moment the characters enter
the dungeon to the end of the session, when they tally up
their experience points.

MORE MOVEMENT RULES

The Player’s Handbook covers tactical and overland movement for
Small and Medium creatures either traveling across the ground, or
using skills such as Climb, Jump, and Swim. This section of the rules
expands on that information to include creatures smaller than
Small and larger than Medium and also discusses flying movement.

MOVEMENT AND THE GRID
While this is a game of imagination, props and visual aids can
help everyone imagine the same thing, avoid confusion, and
enhance the entire game play experience.
In a round-by-round simulation, particularly when you are
using miniatures, movement will sometimes feel choppy. If a
character runs across a room so large that it takes him 2 rounds to
do so, it might seem as though he runs halfway, stops, and then
runs the rest of the way a little later. Although there’s no way to
avoid representing movement in a start-stop-start-stop fashion,
try to keep in mind—and emphasize to the players—that all
movement during an encounter is actually fluid and continuous.

Movement and Position
Few characters in a fight are likely to stand still for long. Enemies
appear and charge the party; the adventurers reply, advancing to
take on new foes after they down their first opponents. Wizards
circle the fight, looking for the best place to use their magic;

rogues quietly skirt the fracas, seeking a straggler or an
unwary opponent to strike with a sneak attack. With all this
tactical maneuvering going on, some way to represent character location within a defined scale can really aid the game.
Handle movement and position by using miniature figures on a grid. Miniatures show where a figure is in relation to others, and the grid makes it clear how far the characters and monsters can move.

Standard Scale
1-inch square = 5 feet
30mm figure = human-size creature

Scale and Squares
The standard unit for tactical maps is the 5-foot square.
This unit is useful for miniatures and for drawing dungeon maps, which are usually created on graph paper.
In a fight, each Small or Medium character occupies a single 5-foot square. Larger creatures take up
more squares, and several smaller creatures fit in a
square. See Table 8–4: Creature Size and Scale, page
149 of the Player’s Handbook.

Diagonal Movement
When moving diagonally on a grid, the first square
moved counts as 5 feet of movement, but the
second diagonal move counts as 10 feet. This pattern of
5 feet and then 10 feet continues as long as the character
moves diagonally, even if some straight movement
through squares separates the diagonal moves. For
example, a character moves 1 square diagonally

19

(5 feet), then 3 squares straight (15 feet), and then another square
diagonally (10 feet) for a total movement of 30 feet.

Armor and Encumbrance

USING
THE RULES

CHAPTER 2:

The Player’s Handbook explains the effect of armor and encumbrance on creatures with base speeds of 20 feet or 30 feet. The table
below provides reduced speed figures for all base speeds from 20
feet to 100 feet (in 10-foot increments).
Base Speed
20 ft.
30 ft.
40 ft.
50 ft.
60 ft.

Reduced Speed
15 ft.
20 ft.
30 ft.
35 ft.
40 ft.

Base Speed
70 ft.
80 ft.
90 ft.
100 ft.

Reduced Speed
50 ft.
55 ft.
60 ft.
70 ft.

MOVING IN THREE DIMENSIONS
Not every creature gets around by walking and running. A shark,
even though it moves by swimming, can take a run action to swim
faster. A character under the influence of a fly spell can make a
flying charge. A climbing thief can use part of his speed to climb
down a short wall and then use the remainder to hustle toward a
foe. Use the movement rules to apply to any sort of movement, not
just when traveling across a flat surface.

Tactical Aerial Movement
The elf barbarian mounted on the giant eagle swoops over the
group of mind flayers, launching arrows from his bow. One of the
mind flayers wears winged boots and takes to the air to better confront the elf. Once movement becomes three-dimensional and
involves turning in midair and maintaining a minimum velocity
to stay aloft, it gets more complicated.
Most flying creatures have to slow down at least a little to make
a turn, and many are limited to fairly wide turns and must maintain a minimum forward speed. Each flying creature has a maneuverability, as shown on Table 2–1: Maneuverability. The entries on
Table 2–1 are defined below.
Minimum Forward Speed: If a flying creature fails to maintain its
minimum forward speed, it must land at the end of its movement.
If it is too high above the ground to land, it falls straight down,
descending 150 feet in the first round of falling. If this distance
brings it to the ground, it takes falling damage. If the fall doesn’t
bring the creature to the ground, it must spend its next turn recovering from the stall. It must succeed on a DC 20 Reflex save to
recover. Otherwise it falls another 300 feet. If it hits the ground, it
takes falling damage. Otherwise, it has another chance to recover
on its next turn.
Hover: The ability to stay in one place while airborne.
Move Backward: The ability to move backward without turning
around.

Reverse: A creature with good maneuverability uses up 5 feet of
its speed to start flying backward.
Turn: How much the creature can turn after covering the stated
distance.
Turn in Place: A creature with good or average maneuverability
can use some of its speed to turn in place.
Maximum Turn: How much the creature can turn in any one space.
Up Angle: The angle at which the creature can climb.
Up Speed: How fast the creature can climb.
Down Angle: The angle at which the creature can descend.
Down Speed: A flying creature can fly down at twice its normal
flying speed.
Between Down and Up: An average, poor, or clumsy flier must fly
level for a minimum distance after descending and before climbing. Any flier can begin descending after a climb without an intervening distance of level flight.

EVASION AND PURSUIT
In round-by-round movement, simply counting off squares, it’s
impossible for a slow character to get away from a determined fast
character without mitigating circumstances. Likewise, it’s no
problem for a fast character to get away from a slower one.
When the speeds of the two concerned characters are equal, there’s
a simple way to resolve a chase: If one creature is pursuing another,
both are moving at the same speed, and the chase continues for at
least a few rounds, have them make opposed Dexterity checks to see
who is the faster over those rounds. If the creature being chased wins,
it escapes. If the pursuer wins, it catches the fleeing creature.
Sometimes a chase occurs overland and could last all day, with
the two sides only occasionally getting glimpses of each other at a
distance. In the case of a long chase, an opposed Constitution
check made by all parties determines which can keep pace the
longest. If the creature being chased rolls the highest, it gets away.
If not, the chaser runs down its prey, outlasting it with stamina.

MOVING AROUND IN SQUARES
The characters are all within a corridor only 5 feet wide. A fighter
stands at the end of the corridor, at a dead end. He’s been poisoned
and is dying. The cleric wants to get at the fighter to help, but two
other characters are between them. Thus, there’s no way for the cleric
to get next to the fighter and cast neutralize poison. You can rule that it’s
okay for the cleric to squeeze past the characters who are in the way,
cast the spell, and then move back to where she previously stood.
In general, when the characters aren’t engaged in round-byround combat, they should be able to move anywhere and in any
manner that you can imagine real people could. A 5-foot square,
for instance, can hold several characters; they just can’t all fight
effectively in that small space. The rules for movement of miniatures are important for combat, but outside combat they can
impose unnecessary hindrances on character activities.

Table 2–1: Maneuverability

20

Minimum forward speed
Hover
Move backward
Reverse
Turn
Turn in place
Maximum turn
Up angle
Up speed
Down angle
Down speed
Between down and up

Perfect
(Will-o’-wisp)
None
Yes
Yes
Free
Any
Any
Any
Any
Full
Any
Double
0

Maneuverability and Example Creature
Good
Average
(Beholder)
(Gargoyle)
None
Half
Yes
No
Yes
No
–5 ft.
No
90º/5 ft.
45º/5 ft.
+90º/–5 ft.
+45º/–5 ft.
Any
90º
Any
60º
Half
Half
Any
Any
Double
Double
0
5 ft.

Poor
(Wyvern)
Half
No
No
No
45º/5 ft.
No
45º
45º
Half
45º
Double
10 ft.

Clumsy
(Manticore)
Half
No
No
No
45º/10 ft.
No
45º
45º
Half
45º
Double
20 ft.

BONUS TYPES

CHAPTER 2:

USING
THE RULES

Many racial abilities, class features, spells, and magic items offer
bonuses on attack rolls, damage rolls, saving throws, Armor Class,
ability scores, or skill checks. These bonuses are classified by type,
and each type is briefly described below.
Bonuses of different types always stack. So a cloak of resistance +1
(adds a resistance bonus on saving throws) works with a paladin’s
bonus on saving throws from the divine grace class feature. Identical types of bonuses do not stack, so a +3 longsword (+3 enhancement bonus for a +3 to attack, +3 to damage) would not be affected
by a magic weapon spell that grants a weapon a +1 enhancement
bonus on attack and damage rolls.
Different named bonus types all stack, but usually a named
bonus does not stack with another bonus of the same name,
except for dodge bonuses and some circumstance bonuses.
Alchemical: An alchemical bonus represents the benefit from
a chemical compound, usually one ingested prior to receiving the
bonus. Antitoxin, for example, provides a +5 alchemical bonus on
Fortitude saving throws against poison.
Armor: This is the bonus that nonmagical armor gives a character. A spell that gives an armor bonus typically creates an invisible, tangible field of force around the affected character.
Circumstance: This is a bonus or penalty based on situational
factors, which may apply either to a check or the DC for that
check. Circumstance modifiers stack with each other, unless they
arise from essentially the same circumstance.
Competence: When a character has a competence bonus, he
actually gets better at what he’s doing, such as with the guidance
spell.
Deflection: A deflection bonus increases a character’s AC by
making attacks veer off, such as with the shield of faith spell.
Dodge: A dodge bonus enhances a character’s ability to get out
of the way quickly. Dodge bonuses do stack with other dodge
bonuses. Spells and magic items occasionally grant dodge bonuses.
Enhancement: An enhancement bonus represents an increase
in the strength or effectiveness of a character’s armor or weapon,
as with the magic vestment and magic weapon spells, or a general
bonus to an ability score, such as with the cat’s grace spell.
Inherent: An inherent bonus is a bonus to an ability score that
results from powerful magic, such as a wish spell. A character is
limited to a total inherent bonus of +5 to any ability score.
Insight: An insight bonus makes a character better at what he’s
doing because he has an almost precognitive knowledge of factors
pertinent to the activity, as with the true strike spell.
Luck: A luck bonus is a general bonus that represents good fortune, such as from the divine favor spell.
Morale: A morale bonus represents the effects of greater hope,
courage, and determination, such as from the bless spell.
Natural Armor: A natural armor bonus is the type of bonus
that many monsters get because of their tough or scaly hides. An

enhancement to natural armor bonus bestowed by a spell (such as
barkskin) indicates that the subject’s skin has become tougher.
Profane: A profane bonus represents the power of evil, such as
granted by the desecrate spell.
Racial: Creatures gain racial bonuses—usually to skill
checks—based on the kind of creature they are. Eagles receive a
+8 racial bonus on Spot checks, for example.
Resistance: A resistance bonus is a general bonus against
magic or harm. Resistance bonuses almost always affect saving
throws.
Sacred: The opposite of a profane bonus, a sacred bonus relates
to the power of good, such as granted by the consecrate spell.
Shield: Much like an armor bonus, a shield bonus to AC represents the protection a nonmagical shield affords. A spell that gives
a shield bonus usually represents an invisible, tangible shield of
force that moves to protect the character.
Size: When a character gets bigger (such as through the effect
of an enlarge person spell), his Strength increases (as might his Constitution). That’s a size bonus.

COMBAT

The brave party of adventurers smashes through the wooden door
and into an ambush of bloodthirsty hobgoblins with spears and
rusted blades. The trio of knights charges through the forest on
their gallant mounts, their lances plunging into the scaly flesh of
the horrible hydra that waits near the river’s edge. The dragon
takes to the air and chases the elf lord and his retinue, jaws snapping behind them as they run in terror.
Combat is a big part of what makes the D&D game exciting.
There are few better ways to test your mettle against your foes
than in pitched battle. Your most important job as DM is running
combats—making things move quickly and smoothly, and adjudicating what happens during each round of the action.

LINE OF SIGHT
Line of sight establishes whether a particular character can see
something else represented on the grid. When using a grid, draw
an imaginary line (or use a ruler or a piece of string) from the
square the character is in to the object in question. If nothing
blocks this line, the character has line of sight (and can thus see it
to cast a spell on it, target it with a bow, and so forth). If the object
in question is actually another creature, measure line of sight
from the square the character is in to the square that the creature
occupies. If a character can see a portion of a large creature that
occupies more than one square, she can target that creature for a
spell or any other attack.
If line of sight is completely blocked, a character can’t cast spells
or use ranged weapons against the target. If it’s partially blocked,
such as by the corner of a building, spells work normally but the
target’s AC increases due to the cover.

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BEHIND THE CURTAIN: STACKING BONUSES
Keeping track of the different types of bonuses a character gets from
different sources may seem like a real bother. There are good reasons
to do this, however.
Balance: The main reason to keep track of what stacks and what
doesn’t stack is to keep total bonuses from getting out of hand. If a
character wears a belt of giant Strength, it’s unbalancing to allow the
cleric to cast bull’s strength on her as well and allow both bonuses to
add up. Likewise, a character with mage armor, magic plate armor, a
ring of protection, and a divine favor spell would be unbalanced if all his
bonuses were cumulative. Stacking restrictions keep the game within
manageable limits, while still allowing characters to benefit from

multiple magic items. For instance, note that some of the items from
the previous example—the magic plate armor, the ring, and the divine
favor spell, for example—could work together, because they provide
bonuses of different types.
Consistency and Logic: The system of bonus types provides a way to
make sense out of what can work together and what can’t. At some
point, when adding types of protection together, a reasonable player
realizes that some protections are just redundant. This system logically
portrays how it all makes sense together.
Encouraging Good Play: Categorizing bonuses by type allows players to put together suites of effects that do work in conjunction in a
consistent manner—encouraging smart play rather than pile-it-on play.

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21

USING
THE RULES

CHAPTER 2:

STARTING AN ENCOUNTER
An encounter can begin in one of three situations.
• One side becomes aware of the other and thus can act first.
• Both sides become aware of each other at the same time.
• Some, but not all, creatures on one or
both sides become aware of the
other side.
When you decide that it is
possible for either side to
become aware of the
other, use Spot checks,
Listen checks, sight
ranges, and so on
to determine
which of the
three above
cases
comes into play.
Although it’s good
to give characters
some chance to
detect a coming
encounter, ultimately it’s you
who decides when the first
round begins and where each
side is when it does.
One Side Aware First: In
this case, you determine
how much time the aware
side has before the unaware side
can react. Sometimes, the
unaware side has no time to
do anything before the aware
side gets a chance to interact.
If so, the character or party
that is aware gets to take a stan-

dard action before initiative is rolled, while the unaware character
or party does nothing and is caught flat-footed. During this time,
the unaware character or party gains no Dexterity bonus to AC.
After this action, both sides make initiative checks to determine
the order in which the participants act.
Other times, the aware side has a few rounds to prepare. (If its
members see the other side off in the distance, heading their way,
for example.) You should track time in rounds at this point to
determine how much the
aware characters can accomplish. Once the two sides come
into contact, the aware characters
can take a standard action while the
unaware characters do nothing. Keep in
mind that if
the aware characters alert the

unaware side before actual contact is
made, then both sides are treated as
aware.
Example (Sudden Awareness): A kobold
sorcerer with darkvision sees a party
of adventurers coming down a long
hallway. He can see the adventurers,
since they’ve got light, but they can’t
see him because he’s out of the
range of their illumination. The
sorcerer gets a standard action
and casts lightning bolt at the
party. Caught unaware, the
party can do nothing but roll

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VARIANT: ROLL INITIATIVE EACH ROUND

22

Some players find combat more fun if they get to roll initiative every
round rather than rolling once at the beginning of the encounter.
Rather than determining a sequence of actions for each round at the
beginning of an encounter, the players and DM reroll for all combatants, determining a different sequence at the start of each new round.
The goal is to give the combat a feeling of shifting variability.
Ultimately, this variant rule doesn’t change things much. You’ll find
that it slows down play, because a new sequence of activity will need
to be determined each round—more die rolling, more calculation,
more organizing time. It doesn’t change spell durations, or how various combat actions work. Effects that last until the character’s next
action still operate that way. The difference is that it’s possible for
someone to take an action at the end of one round (such as a charge
attack) that puts him at a penalty until his next action, and then to roll
well in the next round so that he goes first and the penalty has no
effect. This means that sometimes it can be beneficial to roll low for
initiative in a round.
And consider this case: A wizard wants to cast a spell unhindered by
the oncoming monk who rushes toward him. He knows that if the
monk reaches him, it will be difficult to cast a spell without drawing an
attack of opportunity from her. He thinks to himself that his actions
will depend on whether he wins initiative in this round (you need to
keep this sort of change in approach in mind if you use this variant).
Meanwhile, the monk wants to reach the wizard and use her stunning
attack to keep him from casting spells. They roll initiative, and the
wizard wins, casting a spell on the monk (but the monk saves and isn’t

affected). The monk runs forward and stuns the wizard, a condition
that lasts until the monk’s next action. In the next round, the monk
wins initiative again, and attacks but misses. Now the wizard casts
another spell—but because he lost initiative in this round, and acted
after the monk’s action, the fact that he was stunned hardly hindered
him at all.
If you roll initiative each round, taking a readied action later in the
same round or delaying an action until later in the same round gives
you a cumulative –2 penalty on later initiative rolls. (The first time you
do this causes a –2 penalty; if you take a readied action later in the
same round or delay an action until later in the same round again
during the current combat, the penalty becomes –4, and so on.) Taking
a readied action in the next round or delaying until the next round
carries no penalty, but you get no other action that round.
Even if you normally use a single set of initiative rolls for the whole
combat, some turn of events could make it worthwhile to reroll initiative. For example, the PCs are fighting a drow wizard using greater invisibility. It’s a climactic encounter with the survival of the party hinging
on it. The drow, on his turn, walks within 30 feet of Jozan, who has cast
invisibility purge. Suddenly, the drow is visible. Under normal initiative
rules, whoever happens to act next would be able to attack the newly
visible drow. Aside from game mechanics, there’s no good reason to
let that character act first. Additionally, everyone else will get one turn
before the drow gets to act again. Instead of following the previous
order, you can call for everyone—the drow included—to roll initiative
again to see how fast each character reacts to the new condition (the
drow becoming visible).

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Some Creatures on One or Both Sides Aware: In this case,
only the creatures that are aware can act. These creatures can take
standard actions before the main action starts.
Example: Lidda is scouting ahead. She and a gargoyle spot each
other simultaneously, but the rest of Lidda’s party doesn’t see the
monster (though they are close enough to hear any fighting that
erupts). Lidda and the gargoyle each get standard actions, and then
normal combat starts. Lidda and the gargoyle roll initiative
before taking their actions, and everyone else rolls initiative after those actions are concluded.

CHAPTER 2:

USING
THE RULES

saving throws. Once the damage from the spell is assessed, both
sides roll initiative.
Example (Time to Prepare): Jozan the cleric hears the sounds of
creatures moving beyond a door in a dungeon. He also hears some
voices, and determines
that the creatures are
speaking Orc. He figures that they don’t
know he’s there. He
takes the time to cast bless and
shield of faith on himself
before opening the door
and using a standard action
to cast hold person on the
first foe he sees. He can cast
the hold person spell before
anyone makes an initiative check,
unless the orcs heard him casting
bless or shield of faith in the previous 2
rounds, in which case they become
aware, Jozan doesn’t get the action that
enabled him to cast hold person, and he’d
better hope he gets the higher result on his
initiative check.
Both Sides Aware at the Same
Time: If both sides are aware at
the same time and can interact,
both should roll initiative and
resolve actions normally.
If each side becomes
aware of the other but cannot
interact immediately, track time in rounds,
giving both sides the same amount of time
in full rounds, until the two sides can
begin to interact.
Example (Both Aware and Can Interact
Immediately): A party of adventurers burst
into a dungeon room full of orcs, and neither
knew of the other ahead of time. All are equally surprised and
equally flat-footed. Initiative is rolled, reflecting that those characters with better reflexes act quicker in such situations.
Example (Both Aware but Cannot Interact Immediately): A party of
adventurers comes along a dungeon corridor and hears the
laughter of orcs beyond the door ahead. Meanwhile, the orc
lookout sees the adventures through a peephole in the door and
warns his comrades. The door is closed, so no direct interaction
is possible yet. Jozan casts bless. Lidda drinks a potion. Tordek and
Mialee move up to the door. At the same time, the orcs move into
position, and one uses a ring of invisibility to hide. The DM
records the passage of 1 round. The adventurers arrange themselves around the door and make a quick plan. The orcs turn over
tables and nock arrows in their shortbows. The DM tracks
another round. The fighter opens the door, and the DM calls for
an initiative check from all. The third round begins, this time
with the order of actions being important (and dictated by the
initiative check results).

The Surprise Round
When only one side is aware of the other, the DM runs the first
round of combat as a surprise round. In this round, each character gets only a standard action. Only those aware of the other side
can take any action at all. This rule reflects the fact that even
when a combatant is prepared, some amount of time is spent
assessing the situation, and thus only standard actions are
allowed to begin with.
This rule makes initiative have less of an impact, since it is in
the first round when initiative matters most. Even if a warrior gets
the jump on an opponent, at best he can make a single attack
against a foe before that foe can react.

NEW COMBATANTS
The adventurers are fighting for their lives against a group of trolls
intent on throwing them into a dank pit to feed to the dragon that

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VARIANT: SAPIENT MOUNTS
A paladin’s mount is as smart as some characters. Giant eagles, giant
owls, and pegasi are all highly intelligent. When such creatures are part
of the action, you have two choices.
• You can force the mount to act on its rider’s initiative, just like
mounts of animal intelligence. This means that mount and rider act,
essentially, simultaneously.

• You can ask the player to make a separate initiative check for the
mount. This means the mount moves and attacks at its own place in
the initiative order, reinforcing its nature as a separate character.
However, that may be extremely inconvenient for a rider who is
carried away from her opponent! In such cases, of course, the rider
can always delay to synchronize her initiative check result with her
mount’s. Likewise, the mount may choose to delay to coincide its
movement with its rider’s.

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23

USING
THE RULES

CHAPTER 2:

controls this part of the dungeon. Suddenly, in the middle of the
fight, a strike team of dwarves wanders into the room where the
battle rages. If, in the course of a battle between two sides, some
third group enters the battle, they should come into the action in
between rounds. The following rules apply to this situation,
whether or not the new group is allied with one or more existing
side involved in the encounter.
Newcomers Are Aware: If any (or all) of the newcomers are
aware of one or both of the sides in a battle, they take their actions
before anyone else. In effect, they go first in the initiative sequence. Their initiative check result is considered to be 1 higher
than the highest initiative check result among the other participants in the encounter. If differentiation is needed for the actions
of the newcomers, they act in order of their Dexterity scores, highest to lowest. The reason for this rule is twofold.
• Since they’re aware, but there’s no way to get an action ahead of
everyone else (because the encounter has already started), they
go first to simulate their advantage. This happens whether the
other sides are aware of the new side or not.
• Placing the newcomers at the beginning of the round means
that those who had the highest initiative check results prior to
their arrival are the first characters to have an opportunity to
react to them. This is an important advantage for characters
with high places in the initiative order.
Newcomers Not Aware: If any or all of the newcomers are not
aware of the other sides when they enter the encounter (for
example, the PCs stumble unaware into a fight between two monsters in a dungeon), the newcomers still come into play at the
beginning of the round, but they roll initiative normally. If one of
the other characters involved in the encounter has a higher initiative check result than one or more of the newcomers, that character can react to those newcomers before they get a chance to act
(the newcomers are caught flat-footed).
If more than one new group enters an existing encounter at the
same time, you must first decide if they are aware of the
encounter. Those that are unaware, “stumbling in,” roll initiative.
Those that are aware act first in the round, in the order of their
Dexterity scores, even if they are not in the same group.
Example: A group of powerful adventurers fights a naga in a
dungeon room. The naga rolled badly for initiative, and all the adventurers act before it. Between rounds three and four of that battle, three orcs on a random patrol stumble in. At the same time,
two more nagas arrive, having been alerted by the sounds of the
battle. At the beginning of round four, the two new nagas act in
the order of their Dexterity scores. Then the orcs roll for initiative,
and the results of their rolls are placed within the normal initiative
order for the battle. In this case, poor check results place them
dead last, even after the original naga.
Then the adventurers act, able to react either to the flat-footed
orcs or to the new naga reinforcements. Then the original naga
acts, followed by the orcs (who probably flee from this battle,
which is clearly out of their league). This same sequence is used
for subsequent rounds of the battle.

KEEPING THINGS MOVING
Initiative dictates the flow of who goes when. It is the tool that the
game uses to keep things moving, but ultimately it’s you who
needs to make sure that happens. Encourage the players to be
ready with their actions when each one’s turn comes up. Players
have less fun if they spend a lot of time sitting at the table waiting
for someone else to decide what to do.
Some resourceful players will learn tricks to help you move
things along. When attacking, they roll attack and damage dice at
once, so that if successful, they can tell you the damage that they
deal immediately. If they know that their next action will require
a die roll, they’ll roll it ahead of time, so that when you ask them
what they’re going to do, they can tell you immediately. (“I attack
with my battleaxe and hit AC 14. If that’s good enough, I deal 9
points of damage.”) Some DMs like to have players make each roll
separately, so you’ll have to decide for yourself whether you allow
prerolling.
One useful thing you can do is to write down the initiative sequence once it’s determined for a given encounter. If you place
this information where all the players can see it, each will know
when his character’s turn is coming and hopefully will be ready to
tell you his action when it comes time for him to act. Don’t write
down the NPCs’ places in the initiative sequence, at least not until
they have acted once—the players shouldn’t know who’s going to
act before the enemies and who will act after. It’s too easy to plan
actions around when their opponents act.

Simultaneous Activity
When you play out a combat scene or some other activity for
which time is measured in rounds, it can be important to remember that all the PCs’ and NPCs’ actions are occurring simultaneously. For instance, in one 6-second round, Mialee might be trying
to cast a spell at the same time that Lidda is moving in to make a
sneak attack.
However, when everyone at the table plays out a combat round,
each individual acts in turn according to the initiative count for
his character. Obviously, this is necessary, because if every individual took his turn at the same time, mass confusion would
result. However, this sequential order of play can occasionally lead
to situations when something significant happens to a character at
the end of his turn but before other characters have acted in the
same round.
For instance, suppose Tordek hustles 15 feet ahead of his
friends down a corridor, turns a corner, and hustles another 10
feet down a branching corridor, only to trigger a trap at the end of
his turn. In order to maintain the appearance of simultaneous
activity, you’re within your rights to rule that Tordek doesn’t trigger the trap until the end of the round. After all, it takes him some
time to get down the corridor, and in an actual real-time situation
the other characters who have yet to act in the round would be
taking their actions during this same time.

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VARIANT: STRIKING THE COVER
INSTEAD OF A MISSED TARGET

24

In ranged combat against a target that has cover, it may be important to know whether the cover was actually struck by an incoming
attack that misses the intended target. First, determine if the attack
roll would have hit the protected target without the cover. If the
attack roll falls within a range low enough to miss the target with
cover but high enough to strike the target if there had been no
cover, the object used for cover was struck. If a creature is providing cover for another character and the attack roll exceeds the AC of

the covering creature, the covering creature takes the damage
intended for the target.
If the covering creature has a Dexterity bonus to AC or a dodge
bonus, and this bonus keeps the covering creature from being hit, then
the original target is hit instead. The covering creature has dodged out
of the way and didn’t provide cover after all. A covering creature can
choose not to apply his Dexterity bonus to AC and/or his dodge bonus,
if his intent is to try to take the damage in order to keep the covered
character from being hit.

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COMBAT ACTIONS

While the combat actions defined in the Player’s Handbook are
numerous and fairly comprehensive, they cannot begin to cover
every possible action that a character might want to take. Your job
is to make up rules on the spot to handle such things. In general,
use the rules for combat actions as guidelines, and apply ability
checks, skill checks, and (rarely) saving throws when they are
appropriate.
The following are a few examples of ad hoc rules decisions.
• Reinforcements show up to help the bugbears that the adventurers are fighting. Tordek can hear these newcomers attempting to open the door to get in. He races to the door and tries to
hold it shut while the others finish off the foes in the room. If
it were a normal door, you might call for an opposed Strength
check between Tordek and the bugbears pushing on the door.
Since the door is already stuck, however, you decide that the
bugbears must first push it open and then (if they succeed)
make an opposed check against Tordek.
• A monk wants to jump up, grab a chandelier, and swing on it
into an enemy. You rule that a DC 13 Dexterity check allows the
monk to grab the chandelier and swing. The player asks if the
monk can use his Tumble skill, and you let him. Ruling that the
swing is somewhat like a charge, you give the monk a +2 bonus
on the roll to see if his dramatic swinging attack succeeds.
• A sorcerer readies a spell so that he casts it as soon as he sees a
beholder’s small eyes shoot rays. (He decides this is the best way

Combat Actions outside Combat
As a general rule, combat actions should only be performed in
combat—when you’re keeping track of rounds and the players are
acting in initiative order. You’ll find obvious exceptions to this
rule. For example, a cleric doesn’t need to roll initiative to cast cure
light wounds on a friend after the battle’s over. Spellcasting and skill
use are often used outside combat, and that’s fine. Attacks, readied
actions, charges, and other actions are meant to simulate combat,
however, and are best used within the round structure.
Consider the following situation: Outside combat, Lidda decides to pull a mysterious lever that she has found in a dungeon
room. Mialee, standing right next to her, thinks that Lidda’s sudden plan is a bad one. Mialee tries to stop Lidda. The best way to
handle this situation is by using the combat rules as presented.
Lidda and Mialee roll initiative. If Lidda wins, she pulls the lever.
If Mialee wins, she grabs Lidda, requiring a melee touch attack (as
if starting a grapple). If Mialee hits, Lidda needs to determine
whether or not she resists. (Since Mialee is a good friend, grabbing
Lidda’s arm might be enough to make her stop.) If Lidda keeps
trying to pull the lever, use the grapple rules to determine
whether Mialee can hold Lidda back.

CHAPTER 2:

Adjudicating Actions Not Covered

for him to determine whether the beholder’s antimagic ray is
currently active.) That means, however, that the rays need to
have actually fired before the spell is cast (the spell can’t go
before the rays in this case). Still, the sorcerer needs to know if
he gets his spell cast before he’s struck by the dangerous rays.
You rule that if the sorcerer can beat the beholder in an opposed
check, he can get the spell off. The sorcerer makes a Wisdom
check, and the beholder opposes that with a Dexterity check.

USING
THE RULES

A troll with a longspear mounted on a purple worm can reach
opponents 4 squares away. Surrounded by enemies, it can guide its
mount’s attacks against the same foe that it attacks, hoping to take
him out of the combat entirely, or it can attack one foe and encourage the worm to bite (and try to swallow) another while it stings a
third enemy with its venomous tail. Combat can be a tactical game
in and of itself, filled with good and bad decisions.
You need to play each NPC appropriately. A combat-savvy fighter with a fair Intelligence score isn’t going to allow his opponents
to get attacks of opportunity unless he has to, but a stupid goblin
might. A phase spider with an Intelligence of 7 might figure that
phasing in behind the dexterous wizard he’s fighting is the best
course of action (since the wizard blasted him with a magic missile
spell last round), but an ankheg (Intelligence 1) might not know
which character is the biggest threat.

Adjudicating the Ready Action
The ready action is particularly open-ended and requires that you
make the players using it be as specific as possible about what
their characters are doing. If a character readies a spell so that it
will be cast when a foe comes at her, the player needs to specify
the exact spell—and you’re justified in making the player identify
a specific foe, either one that the character is currently aware of or
one that might come at her from a certain direction.
If a character specifies a readied action and then decides not to
perform the action when the conditions are met, the standard rule
is that the character can keep his action readied. Because combat is
often confusing and fast, however, you’re within your rights to

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VARIANT: AUTOMATIC HITS AND MISSES
The Player’s Handbook says that an attack roll of natural 1 (the d20
comes up 1) is always a miss. A natural 20 (the d20 comes up 20) is
always a hit.
This rule means that the lowliest kobold can strike the most
magically protected, armored, dexterous character on a roll of 20.
It also means that regardless of a warrior’s training, experience,
and magical assistance, he still misses a given foe at least 5% of
the time.
A different way to handle this is to say that a natural 1 is treated as
a roll of –10. Someone with an attack bonus of +6 nets a –4 result,
which can’t hit anything. Someone with a +23 attack bonus rolling a 1
would hit AC 13 or lower. At the other extreme, a natural 20 is treated
as a roll of 30. Even someone with a –2 attack penalty would hit AC 28
with such a roll.

VARIANT: DEFENSE ROLL
More randomness can sometimes eliminate the foregone conclusion
of a high-level character who always hits, or a low-level one who never
has a chance. A good way to introduce this randomness is to allow (or

force) characters to make defense rolls. Every time a character is
attacked, rather than just using his never-changing, static AC, he
makes a d20 roll and adds it to all his AC modifiers. Every attack
becomes an opposed roll, with attacker and defender matching their
modified rolls against one another. (One way to look at it is that without the defense roll, characters are “taking 10” on the roll each round,
and thus are using a base of 10 for Armor Class.)
The defense roll can be expressed like this:
1d20 + (AC – 10)
For example, a paladin attacks an evil fighter. The paladin rolls a 13 and
adds his attack bonus of +10 for a result of 23. The fighter makes his
defense roll and gets a 9. He adds his defensive bonuses (all the things
that modify AC, including armor), which amount to +11. The fighter’s
result is 20, less than 23, so the paladin hits.
This variant rule really comes in handy at high levels, where highlevel fighters always hit with their primary attacks, and other characters
rarely do. Unfortunately, it can slow down play, almost doubling the
number of rolls in any given combat. A compromise might be to have
each defender make a defense roll once in a round, using that same
total for all attacks made against him in that round.

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25

USING
THE RULES

CHAPTER 2:

make it a little harder on the character who readies an action and
doesn’t take that action when the opportunity presents itself. You
have two options.
• Allow the character to forgo the action at the expense of losing
the readied action.
• Allow the character to attempt a DC 15 Wisdom check to avoid
taking the readied action. Thus, if a character covers a door with
a crossbow, he can make a Wisdom check to keep from firing
the crossbow when his friend comes through the door. A
successful check means that he doesn’t fire at his friend, and is
still ready to shoot the ghoul chasing the friend. A failure
means he completes the action he readied and shoots the first
creature through the door—his friend.
Smart players are going to learn that being specific is often better than making a general statement. If a character is covering a
door with a crossbow, he might say, “I shoot the first enemy that
comes through the door.” Although players can benefit from
being specific, you should decide if a certain set of conditions is
too specific. “I cover the door with my crossbow so that I shoot the
first unwounded ghoul that comes through” might be too specific,
because it’s not necessarily easy to tell an unwounded ghoul from
a wounded one, especially when the judgment must be made in an
instant. Ultimately, it’s your call.
Don’t allow players to use the ready action outside combat.
While the above examples are all acceptable in the middle of an
encounter, a player cannot use the ready action to cover a door
with his crossbow outside combat. It’s okay for a player to state
that he’s covering the door, but what that means is that if something comes through the door he’s unlikely to be caught unaware.
If the character coming through the door wasn’t aware of him, he
gets an extra standard action because he surprised the other character, and so he can shoot the weapon. Otherwise, he still needs to
roll initiative for his character normally.

ATTACK ROLLS
Rolling a d20 to see if an attack hits is the bread and butter of combat encounters. It’s almost certainly the most common die roll in
any campaign. Because of that, these rolls run the risk of becoming boring. When a roll as exciting and important as one that
determines success or failure in combat becomes dull, you’ve got
to do something about it.
Attack rolls can be boring if a player thinks that hitting is a foregone conclusion or that his character has no chance to hit. One

way that the rules address this potential problem is by providing
decreasing attack bonuses for multiple attacks. Even if a character’s primary attack always hits whatever he fights, that’s not true
of his secondary or tertiary attacks.
One thing that can keep attack rolls from becoming humdrum
is good visual description. It’s not just “a hit,” it’s a slice across the
dragon’s neck, bringing forth a gout of foul, draconic ichor. See
below for more advice on description.

Critical Hits
When someone gets a 20 on an attack roll, you should be sure to
point out that this is a threat, not a critical hit. Calling it a critical
hit raises expectations that might be dashed by the actual critical
roll. When a critical hit is achieved, a vital spot on the creature was
hit. This is an opportunity for you to give the players some vivid
description to keep the excitement high: “The mace blow hits the
orc squarely on the side of the head. He lets out a groan, and his
knees buckle from the impact.”
Certain creatures are immune to critical hits because they do
not have vital organs, points of weakness, or differentiation from
one portion of the body to another. A stone golem is a solid,
human-shaped mass of rock. A ghost is all insubstantial vapor. A
gray ooze has no front, no back, and no middle.

DAMAGE
Since combat is a big part of the game, handling damage is a big
part of being the DM.

Nonlethal Damage
When running a combat, make sure that you describe nonlethal and lethal damage differently. The distinction should
be clear—both in the players’ imaginations and on their character sheets.
Use nonlethal damage to your advantage. It is an invaluable tool
if your adventure plans involve the PCs’ capture or defeat, but you
don’t want to risk killing them. However, if the PCs’ opponents are
dealing nonlethal damage more often than not, the players begin
to lose any feeling of their characters being threatened. Use nonlethal damage sparingly, but to good effect.
Players, in general, hate for their characters to be captured.
When your NPCs start dealing nonlethal damage to the characters, the players may actually get more worried than if they were
taking lethal damage!

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BEHIND THE CURTAIN: CRITICAL HITS

26

Critical hits are in the game to add moments of particular excitement.
Critical hits, however, are deadly. The PCs, over the course of a single
game session, let alone a campaign, are subject to many more attack
rolls than any given NPC. That makes sense, since the PCs are in every
battle, and most NPCs are in just one (the one in which the PCs defeat
them, usually). Thus, more critical hits are going to be dealt upon any
single PC than any single NPC (and the NPC was probably not going
to survive the encounter anyway). Any given PC is more likely to survive
an encounter—but a critical hit against the character can change all
that. Be aware of this potential, and decide how you want to deal with
it ahead of time.
The reason that critical hits multiply all damage, rather than just the
die roll, is so that they remain significant at high levels. When a highlevel fighter adds +5 to his damage roll from magic and +10 from his
magically enhanced strength, the result of the 1d8 damage roll from
his longsword becomes trivial, even if doubled by a critical hit.
Multiplying all damage, the roll and the bonuses, makes critical hits
particularly dangerous. In fact, they can completely determine the
course of a battle if one or two are dealt. That’s why they make the

game both more interesting and more uncontrollable.
Remember, a critical hit feels like a lot of damage, but the difference
between a double-damage critical hit and a normal hit is no greater
than the difference between a miss and a hit. Taking a triple-damage
critical hit, however, is like getting hit an extra two times, and taking a
quadruple-damage critical hit is like getting hit an extra three times.
The weapons in the Player’s Handbook are balanced with the following idea in mind: Good weapons that deal triple-damage critical hits do
so only on a 20. Good weapons that deal double-damage critical hits
do so on a 19–20. Axes are big and heavy. They’re somewhat difficult
to use efficiently, but when one does, the effect is devastating. An
executioner uses an axe for this reason. Swords, on the other hand, are
more precise—sword wielders get in decisive strikes more often, but
they’re not as crushing as those dealt by axes. A few other factors are
considered as well (reach, the ability to use a weapon as a ranged
weapon, and more), but for the most part, this is the basic rule of
thumb. Thus, it would be a mistake to add to the weapon list some
new weapon that dealt triple-damage critical hits on a 19–20. (Results
such as this might be possible through magic or feats, but should not
be a basic quality of any weapon.)

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VARIANT: CLOBBERED

If a creature takes 50 points of damage or more from a single attack,
she must make a Fortitude save or die. This rule exists primarily as a
nod toward realism in the abstract system of hit point loss. As an extra
touch of realism, you can vary the massive damage threshold by size,
so that each size category larger or smaller than Medium raises or
lowers the threshold by 10 hit points. This variant hurts halfling and
gnome PCs, familiars, and some animal companions. It generally
favors monsters.
Size
Damage

F
10

D
20

T
30

S
40

M
50

L
60

H
70

G
80

C
90

VARIANT: DAMAGE TO SPECIFIC AREAS
Sometimes, despite the abstract nature of combat, you’re going to
want to apply damage to specific parts of the body, such as when a
character’s hands are thrust into flames, when he steps on caltrops, or
when he peeks through a hole in the wall and someone shoots an
arrow into the hole from the other side. (This situation comes up most
frequently with devious traps meant to chop at feet, smash fingers, or
the like.)
When a specific body part takes damage, you can apply a –2
penalty to any action that the character undertakes using that
portion of his body. For example, if a character’s fingers get slashed,
he makes attacks rolls with a weapon in that hand at –2 and he takes
a –2 penalty on skill checks involving the use of his hands. If a character steps on a caltrop, he takes a –2 penalty on skill checks involving the use of his feet (in addition to the effects described in the
Player’s Handbook).
Chapter 8 of this book defines some effects of damage to specific
body parts, such as what happens when a character is blinded or deafened. In addition to that information, use the table below as a guide to
what rolls are modified by injuries to what body parts.
This penalty lasts until the character heals, either magically or by
resting. For a minor wound, such as stepping on a caltrop, a DC 15
Heal check, 1 point of magical healing, or a day of rest removes the
penalties.
You can allow a character to make a Fortitude save (DC 10 +
damage taken) to “tough it out” and ignore the penalty. Also, these
penalties shouldn’t stack—two hand injuries should not impose a
–4 penalty.

Damage Affects:
Climb, Craft, Disable Device, Escape Artist, Forgery, Heal,
Open Lock, Sleight of Hand, and Use Rope checks; attack
rolls.
Arm
Climb and Swim checks; attack rolls; Strength checks.
Head
All attack rolls, saves, and checks.
One eye Appraise, Craft, Decipher Script, Disable Device, Forgery,
Open Lock, Search, Sense Motive, Spellcraft, and Spot
checks; Survival checks (for tracking); initiative checks;
Dexterity checks; ranged attack rolls; Reflex saving throws.
Severe damage to both eyes causes a character to become
blinded.
One ear Listen checks; initiative checks. Severe damage to both ears
causes a character to become deafened.
Foot/Leg Balance, Climb, Jump, Move Silently, Ride, Swim, and
Tumble checks; Reflex saving throws; Dexterity checks.

CHAPTER 2:

VARIANT:
MASSIVE DAMAGE BASED ON SIZE

Location
Hand

USING
THE RULES

Ultimately, damage doesn’t matter until a character is unconscious or
dead. It has no effect while she’s up and fighting. It’s easy to imagine,
however, that she could be hit so hard that she’s clobbered, but not
knocked unconscious or dead.
Using this variant, if a character takes half her current hit points in
damage from a single blow, she is clobbered. On her next turn, she
can take only a standard action, and after that turn she is no longer
clobbered.
This variant will often lead to slightly faster fights, since taking
damage would somewhat reduce the ability to deal damage. It
would also increase randomness by increasing the significance of
dealing substantial but less than lethal damage. It would also
make hit points more important; clerics would want to cure fighters long before fighters are at risk of dying, because they might be
at risk of being clobbered. Finally, it may be easier for a superior
combatant to get unlucky. That fact could hurt PCs more than
NPCs in the long run.

VARIANT: WEAPON EQUIVALENCIES
The party slays a drider armed with magic short swords. The party’s
halfling rogue is delighted. Even the party’s human ranger wants one
of the swords. As DM, you gently remind them that while they are short
swords, they are Large weapons (see Weapon Categories on page 112
of the Player’s Handbook). The human ranger can use one of them as
a one-handed weapon at a –2 penalty, and the halfling rogue can use
one as a two-handed weapon at a –4 penalty.
The rules on weapon categories are based on the idea that most
weapons do not look like smaller or larger versions of other weapons,
nor are they used in the same fashion. The shape of a longsword
reflects its primary use; it is not simply a big dagger. This variant
suggests weapon equivalencies for DMs who wish to offer their players more utility from monster weapons. If a weapon has an equivalent, a character proficient in the equivalent can use the weapon with
no penalty.
On the table below, find the Medium weapon in question in the left
column and then read across to the size of the creature in question.
For instance, a Medium battleaxe is equivalent in this system to a
Large handaxe. Alternatively, find the size of the wielder and read down
the column until you find its weapon. The weapon column then shows
what is equivalent for a Medium character. For example, a Large battleaxe is equivalent in this system to a Medium greataxe.

Weapon Equivalencies
Medium
———— Size of Equivalent Weapon ————
Weapon
Tiny
Small
Large
Battleaxe
—
Greataxe
Handaxe
Club
—
Greatclub
Sap*
Dagger
Longsword
Short sword
—
Dart
Spear
Shortspear
—
Flail, heavy
—
—
Flail, light
Flail, light
—
Flail, heavy
—
Greataxe
—
—
Battleaxe
Greatclub
—
—
Club
Greatsword
—
—
Longsword
Handaxe
Greataxe
Battleaxe
—
Longsword
—
Greatsword
Shortsword
Mace, heavy
—
—
Mace, light
Mace, light
—
Mace, heavy
—
Pick, heavy
—
—
Pick, light
Pick, light
—
Pick, heavy
—
Shortspear
—
Spear
Dart
Short sword
Greatsword
Longsword
Dagger
Spear
—
—
Shortspear
* A sap deals nonlethal damage.

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27

You can rule that certain damaging effects deal nonlethal
damage when it seems appropriate. For example, a variant rule
given in Chapter 8 (page 303) states that you can make the first
1d6 of falling damage nonlethal damage. You can do so on a caseby-case basis if you wish. If a villager throws a rock at a knight,
that also might be nonlethal damage. Certain types of damage,
however, should never be nonlethal damage—puncturing
wounds and most damage from energy attacks, such as fire.

USING
THE RULES

CHAPTER 2:

EFFECT OF WEAPON SIZE
When weapons change size, many other factors change at the
same time. The Player’s Handbook discusses the effect of size on
weight and cost. According to Weapon Qualities on page 114 of
that book, costs given are for Small and Medium versions of the
weapons. Large versions cost twice as much. The same section says
to halve the given weight for Small versions, and double it for
Large versions.
To calculate the damage a larger- or smaller-than-normal
weapon deals, first determine how many size categories it changes
from Medium. A longsword (normally Medium, commonly used
by Medium beings) in the hand of a Huge cloud giant increases
two size categories. For each category change, consult the accompanying tables, finding the weapon’s original damage in the left
column and reading across to the right to find its new damage.

Table 2–2: Increasing Weapon Damage by Size
Medium
Damage
1d2
1d3
1d4
1d6
1d8
1d10
1d12
2d4
2d6
2d8
2d10

One
1d3
1d4
1d6
1d8
2d6
2d8
3d6
2d6
3d6
3d8
4d8

Number of Size Categories Increased
Two
Three
1d4
1d6
1d6
1d8
1d8
2d6
2d6
3d6
3d6
4d6
3d8
4d8
4d6
6d6
3d6
4d6
4d6
6d6
4d8
6d8
6d8
8d8

Four
1d8
2d6
3d6
4d6
6d6
6d8
8d6
6d6
8d6
8d8
12d8

Table 2–3: Decreasing Weapon Damage by Size
Medium
Damage
1d2
1d3
1d4
1d6
1d8
1d10
1d12
2d4
2d6
2d8
2d10

One
1
1d2
1d3
1d4
1d6
1d8
1d10
1d6
1d10
2d6
2d8

Number of Size Categories Decreased
Two
Three
Four
—
—
—
1
—
—
1d2
1
—
1d3
1d2
1
1d4
1d3
1d2
1d6
1d4
1d3
1d8
1d6
1d4
1d4
1d3
1d2
1d8
1d6
1d4
1d10
1d8
1d6
2d6
1d10
1d8

A weapon can only decrease in size so far. Weapons that deal less
than 1 point of damage have no effect. Once a weapon only deals 1
point of damage, it’s not a weapon if it shrinks further.

SPLASH WEAPONS
A splash weapon is a ranged weapon that breaks apart on impact,
splashing or scattering its contents over its target and nearby creatures or objects. Most splash weapons consist of liquids, such as
acid or holy water, in breakable vials such as glass flasks. Attacks
with splash weapons are ranged touch attacks. Attacking with
splash weapons is covered on page 158 of the Player’s Handbook.
Refer to pages 128 and 129 of the Player’s Handbook for specifics
of certain splash weapons.

AREA SPELLS
Spells that affect an area are not targeted on a single creature,
but on a volume of space, and thus must fit into the grid in order
for you to adjudicate who is affected and who is not. Realize
ahead of time that you will have to make ad hoc rulings when
applying areas to the grid. Use the visual aids on pages 305-307
and the following information as guidelines.
Bursts and Emanations: To employ the spell using a grid, the
caster needs to designate an intersection of two lines on the grid as
the center of the effect. From that intersection, it’s easy to measure
a radius using the scale on the grid. If you were to draw a circle
using the measurements on the grid, with the chosen intersection

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VARIANT: INSTANT KILL
When you or a player rolls a natural 20 on an attack roll, a critical roll
is made to see if a critical hit is scored. If that critical roll is also a 20,
that’s considered a threat for an instant kill. Now a third roll, an instant
kill roll, is made. If that roll scores a hit on the target in question (just
like a normal critical roll after a threat), the target is instantly slain.
Creatures immune to critical hits are also immune to instant kills.
The instant kill variant only applies to natural 20s, regardless of the
threat range for a combatant or weapon. (Otherwise weapons, feats,
and magical powers that improve threat ranges would be much more
powerful than they are intended to be.)
The instant kill variant makes a game more lethal and combat more
random. In any contest, an increase in randomness improves the odds
for the underdog. Since the PCs win most fights, a rule that makes
combat more random hurts the PCs more than it hurts their enemies.

VARIANT: SOFTER CRITICAL HITS
Instead of making critical hits more lethal, you can make them less
lethal. Do so by reducing each weapon’s threat range one step.
Weapons with a threat range of 20 and a ×2 multiplier deal no critical
hits at all.

28

Standard
Threat Range
20
19–20
18–20

Softer
Threat Range
—
20
19–20

Standard
Multiplier
×2
×3
×4

Softer
Multiplier
—
×2
×3

This variant makes feats and magical powers that improve threat
ranges less valuable, it slightly decreases the value of a monster’s
immunity to critical hits, and it reduces randomness in combat.

VARIANT: CRITICAL MISSES (FUMBLES)
If you want to model the chance that in combat a character could
fumble his weapon, then when a player rolls a 1 on his attack roll, have
him make a DC 10 Dexterity check. If he fails, his character fumbles. You
need to decide what it means to fumble, but in general, that character
should probably lose a turn of activity as he regains his balance, picks
up a dropped weapon, clears his head, steadies himself, or whatever.
Fumbles are not appropriate to all games. They can add excitement
or interest to combat, but they can also detract from the fun. They
certainly add more randomness to combat. Add this variant rule only
after careful consideration.

pqqqqrs

at the center, then if the majority of a grid square lies within that
circle, the square is a part of the spell’s area.
Cones: Determining the area of a cone spell requires that the
caster declare a direction and an intersection where the cone
starts. From there, the cone expands in a quarter circle.
Miscellaneous: Using the rules given above, apply areas to the
grid as well as you can. Remember to maintain a consistent number of affected squares in areas that differ on the diagonal.

BIG AND LITTLE CREATURES IN COMBAT

Large or larger creatures with reach weapons can strike out to
double their natural reach but can’t use their weapons at their natural reach or less.
A creature may move through an occupied square if it is three
size categories or more larger than the occupant.

Table 2–4: Creature Sizes
Max.
Max.
Natural Reach
Height1 Weight2
Space
(Tall)
(Long)
6 in.
1/8 lb.
1/2 ft.
0 ft.
0 ft.
or less or less
Diminutive 1 ft.
1 lb.
1 ft.
0 ft.
0 ft.
Tiny
2 ft.
8 lb.
2-1/2 ft.
0 ft.
0 ft.
Small
4 ft.
60 lb.
5 ft.
5 ft.
5 ft.
Medium
8 ft.
500 lb.
5 ft.
5 ft.
5 ft.
Large
16 ft.
4,000 lb.
10 ft.
10 ft.
5 ft.
Huge
32 ft.
32,000 lb.
15 ft.
15 ft.
10 ft.
Gargantuan 64 ft.
250,000 lb. 20 ft.
20 ft.
15 ft.
Colossal
64 ft.
250,000 lb. 30 ft.
30 ft.
20 ft.
or more or more
or more
or more or more
1 Biped’s height, quadruped’s body length (nose to base of tail)
2 Assumes that the creature is roughly as dense as a regular animal. A
creature made of stone will weigh considerably more. A gaseous
creature will weigh much less.
Size
Fine

Mixing It Up
Two creatures less than two size categories apart cannot occupy
the same spaces in combat except under special circumstances (for
example, when grappling, riding a mount, or if one is unconscious
or dead).
Creatures two size categories apart can occupy the same space
without special circumstances. Half the normal number of creatures can occupy the space as usual (fractions are not allowed).
Creatures may occupy the same square if they are three or more
size categories different. For instance, a human could occupy one
of the squares also occupied by a purple worm.
Example: A human (Medium) fights a cloud giant (Huge). The
human occupies a single space. The cloud giant occupies roughly
nine spaces. If the human tried to occupy one of the giant’s spaces,
up to half as many humans as normal could fit, since the creatures
are two size categories apart. Since that only amounts to one-half
of a human, the human cannot occupy one of the giant’s spaces
without grappling.
Example: A halfling (Small) fights the same cloud giant. The
halfling, like the human, occupies a single space. If the halfling
tries to occupy one of the giant’s cubes, the normal number of
halflings (one) could fit, since the creatures are three size categories apart.
If a creature is in at least one of the spaces occupied by a larger
creature when that creature moves out of that space without
taking a 5-foot adjustment or a withdraw action, then the smaller
creature gets attacks of opportunity against the departing creature.
Since a creature can attack into its own space (unless armed
with a reach weapon), a smaller creature in one of the spaces occupied by another creature cannot take a withdrawal action.
Any time more than one allied creature occupies an opponent’s
space (either in the same square on the grid or in separate squares),
the allied creatures provide each other with the benefit of flanking. If a creature occupies part of an opponent’s space, it provides
flanking to all allied creatures outside the opponent’s space.
Example: A colony of stirges (Tiny) attacks a human (Medium).
Up to four Tiny creatures can occupy the same space. They are two
size categories apart from a human, so up to two Tiny stirges can
occupy the same space as the human, and they provide each other
with flanking against the human.
Example: A squad of halflings (Small) attacks a bulette (Huge).
The bulette takes up a space three squares across. Since the halflings are three or more size categories apart from the bulette, they
can enter the space the bulette occupies. Each halfling can only
occupy one space, but the bulette occupies nine squares, so up to
nine halflings can occupy the same space as the bulette. The halflings provide each other with flanking.

CHAPTER 2:

Big Creatures

Tiny, Diminutive, and Fine creatures have no natural reach. They
must enter an opponent’s square (and thus be subject to an attack
of opportunity) in order to attack that opponent in melee
unless they are armed with weapons that give them at least 5 feet
of reach.
Because Tiny, Diminutive, and Fine creatures have no natural
reach, they do not normally get attacks of opportunity. Specific
creatures may be exceptions, and some may carry reach weapons
that do threaten adjacent squares.

USING
THE RULES

Creatures smaller than Small or larger than Medium have special
rules relating to position. These rules concern the creatures’
“faces,” or sides, and their reach.
Table 2–4: Creature Sizes summarizes the characteristics of
each of the nine size categories. The Max. Height and Max. Weight
columns are guidelines, not firm limits; for instance, almost all
Medium creatures weigh between 60 and 500 pounds, but exceptions can exist. The figures in the Space and Natural Reach
columns are explained below.
Space: Space is the width of the square a creature needs to
fight without penalties (see Squeezing Through, below). This
width determines how many creatures can fight side by side in a
10-foot-wide corridor, and how many opponents can attack a
creature at the same time. A creature’s space does not have a front,
back, left, or right side, because combatants are constantly
moving and turning in battle. Unless a creature is immobile, it
effectively doesn’t have a front or a left side—at least not one you
can locate on the tabletop.
Natural Reach: Natural reach is how far a creature can reach
when it fights. The creature threatens the area within that distance
from itself. Remember that when measuring diagonally, every
second square counts as 2 squares. The exception is a creature with
10-foot reach. It threatens targets up to 2 squares away, including a
2-square distance diagonally away from its square. (This is an
exception to the rule that 2 squares of diagonal distance is measured as 15 feet.)
As a general rule, consider creatures to be as tall as their space,
meaning that a creature can reach up a distance equal to its space
plus its reach.

Very Small Creatures

Squeezing Through
A creature can squeeze through a space as narrow in width as onehalf its space. While doing so, it moves at half its normal speed. It
takes a –4 penalty on attack rolls and a –4 penalty to AC. While a
creature is squeezing through a narrow space, it’s not possible for
other smaller creatures to also occupy that space.
A creature can move through a space with a ceiling as low as
half its height with the same penalties (in spaces both narrow and

29

low, double the penalties). It can move through a space with a ceiling as low as one-quarter its height, but it must do so by going
prone and crawling. The normal penalties and restrictions for
being prone apply.

USING
THE RULES

CHAPTER 2:

Standing in Tight Quarters
A creature may find itself standing atop a rocky pinnacle, fighting
from the back of a wagon, or taking advantage of the cover provided by a hole in the ground. In such cases, the creature’s space
decreases to match the space available on the ground, but its attacks are unaffected because its upper body isn’t constrained. It
can use its weapons and natural reach without penalties.

SKILL AND ABILITY CHECKS

The whole game can be boiled down to the characters trying to accomplish various tasks, the DM determining how difficult those
tasks are to accomplish, and the dice determining success or failure. While combat and spellcasting have their own rules for how
difficult tasks are, skill checks and ability checks handle just about
everything else.

MODIFYING THE ROLL OR THE DC
Circumstances can modify a character’s die roll, and they can
modify the Difficulty Class needed to succeed.
• Circumstances that improve performance, such as having the
perfect tools for the job, getting help from another character,
and having unusually accurate information, provide a bonus on
the die roll.
• Circumstances that hamper performance, such as being forced
to use improvised tools or having misleading information,
provide a penalty on the die roll.
• Circumstances that make the task easier, such as a friendly audience or helpful environmental conditions, decrease the DC.
• Circumstances that make the task harder, such as a hostile audience or doing work that must be flawless, increase the DC.

THE DM’S BEST FRIEND

30

A favorable circumstance gives a character a +2 bonus on a skill
check (or a –2 modifier to the DC) and an unfavorable one gives a
–2 penalty on the skill check (or a +2 modifier to the DC). Take
special note of this rule, for it may be the only one you’ll need.
Mialee runs down a dungeon corridor, running from a
beholder. Around the corner ahead wait two ogres. Does Mialee
hear the ogres getting ready to make their ambush? The DM calls
for a Listen check and rules that her running from the beholder
makes it less likely that she’s listening carefully: –2 penalty on the
check. But one of the ogres is readying a portcullis trap, and the
cranking winch of the device makes a lot of noise: –2 modifier to
the DC. Also, Mialee has heard from another adventurer that the
ogres in this dungeon like to ambush adventurers: +2 bonus on
the check. Her ears are still ringing from the shout spell that she
cast at the beholder: –2 penalty on the check. The dungeon is
already noisy because of the sound of the roaring dragon on the
level below: +2 modifier to the DC.
You can add modifiers endlessly (doing so is not really a good
thing, since it slows down play), but the point is, other than the
PC’s Listen check modifier, the only numbers that the DM and the
player need to remember when calculating all the situational
modifiers are +2 and –2. Multiple conditions add up to give the
check a total modifier and the DC a final value.
Going beyond the Rule: It’s certainly acceptable to modify
this rule. For extremely favorable or unfavorable circumstances,
you can use modifiers greater than +2 and less than –2. For
example, you can decide that a task is practically impossible and
modify the roll or the DC by 20. Feel free to modify these numbers
as you see fit, using modifiers from 2 to 20.

DELINEATING TASKS
A task is anything that requires a die roll. Climbing half one’s
speed is a task, as is making a pot, despite the fact that one task
takes seconds and the other hours (or even days).
A single task can encompass any of the following activities.
• Moving a set distance (as covered in a skill description).
• Making one item.
• Influencing one person, creature, or group (DM decides if
NPCs are acting as individuals or as a group).
• Dealing with one object (opening a door, breaking a board,
tying a rope, slipping out of a manacle, picking a lock).
• Determining or acquiring one piece of information.
• Searching or tracking over one area (as described in a skill or
feat description).
• Perceive one sound or sight (DM decides if NPCs are acting as
individuals or as a group).
Different skills handle task delineation in different ways. In
fact, the same skill may handle tasks in different ways depending
on what the character is doing. For example, Heal allows the
healer to make one character stable or to assist in a group’s overall
healing rate over a night’s rest. Both of these are single tasks,
requiring only one roll.
Sometimes, however, a task requires multiple rolls. You must
decide, for example, if a character attempting to use Sense Motive
on a group of ogres must treat them as a group (one roll) or as individuals (a different roll for each ogre).
If two different groups approach a character from a distance,
he has to make two different Spot checks to see them if you have
decided that they are indeed different groups. If a character
searches one wall using the Search skill, he might find several
objects of importance—but you decide that each such object
requires a separate roll. In such a case, you should make the rolls
beyond the first one in secret. Asking the player to make more
than one roll at the same time gives him information that he
shouldn’t have.
A few examples of long-term duties (and how many tasks they
comprise) follow.
Character on Watch: The rest of the party sleeps while Mialee
takes the watch. The DM asks for a Listen check about half an
hour into her watch, and she succeeds. She hears a rustling noise
in the nearby bushes (made by a goblin that was trying to sneak up
on the party). She decides to investigate, and the DM calls for a
Spot check opposed by a Hide check from the goblin. Mialee discovers nothing (the goblin successfully conceals itself ), so she
goes back to where she was keeping watch. Later, the DM asks for
another Listen check (as the goblin once again tries to move in),
and she succeeds again. This time she catches the goblin and alerts
the rest of the party to deal with the foe. Eventually they go back
to sleep, and she goes back on watch. Later, the DM calls for
another Listen check, even though he knows there’s nothing to
hear this time.
The duty of being on watch required three Listen checks, because the watch was broken into three segments—at the first
appearance of the goblin, upon checking for the goblin the second
time, and after the goblin was dealt with.
Riding: Soveliss rides his horse along rocky terrain, making no
roll to perform this mundane task. He guides it down into a steep
gully, and you call for a DC 10 Ride check to do so. At the bottom
of the gully, an owlbear menaces a wounded centaur. The ranger
spurs his mount into the fray, making no roll to do so. Once in
battle, the owlbear slashes at the ranger with a powerful claw. You
call for a Ride check for Soveliss to stay on the horse, and another
one to keep the now-panicking horse from running off. The
ranger succeeds on both checks, and then decides to leap out of
the saddle and fight the beast, requiring a DC 20 Ride check.
Soveliss succeeds again, meaning that he dismounts without
falling and moves to engage the owlbear.

Table 2–5: Difficulty Class Examples
Roll (Key Ability)
Listen (Wis)
Search (Int)
Climb (Str)
Listen (Wis)
Balance (Dex)
Search (Int)
Search (Int)
Use Rope (Dex)
Gather Information (Cha)
— (Str or Dex)
Appraise (Int)
Will save (Wis)
— (Str)
Heal (Wis)
Diplomacy (Cha)
Jump (Str)
Tumble (Dex)
Bluff (Cha)
Spellcraft (Int)
Will save (Wis)
— (Str)
Concentration (Con)
Search (Int)
— (Int)
Spot (Wis)
Open Lock (Dex)

20

Find out what sorts of crimes the baron’s
daughter has gotten away with
Avoid falling into a pit trap
Walk a tightrope
Raise a dire wolf cub
Sneak quietly past a hellcat 50 feet away
Escape from an owlbear’s clutches
Grab a guard’s spear and wrest it out of his hands
Resist the wail of the banshee spell
Shoot an armored guard through an arrow slit
Notice that something’s wrong with a friend
who’s under a vampire’s control
Persuade the dragon that has captured you
that it would be a good idea to let you go
Find out from a city’s inhabitants who the
power behind the throne is
Jump over an orc’s head (with a running start)

Gather Information (Cha)

Who Could Do It
A commoner on the other side of a stone wall
The village fool hustling at full speed at night
An average human carrying a 75-pound pack
An absent-minded sage being distracted by allies
A 1st-level rogue
A 1st-level commoner
A 1st-level commoner
A 1st-level commoner
A 1st-level commoner
A 1st-level commoner
A 1st-level rogue
A 1st-level wizard or a low-level fighter
A fighter
A 1st-level cleric
A 1st-level paladin
A 1st-level fighter
A low-level monk
A 1st-level rogue
A wizard (but not anyone untrained in spells)
A low-level monk or a high-level fighter
An enraged half-orc barbarian
A low-level wizard
A smart, 1st-level half-elf rogue
A low-level wizard with Int 12 or higher
A low-level ranger
A dexterous, 1st-level halfling rogue (but not anyone
untrained at picking locks)
A low-level bard

Reflex save (Dex)
Balance (Dex)
Handle Animal (Cha)
Move Silently (Dex)
Escape Artist (Dex)
Melee attack (Str)
Fortitude save (Con)
Ranged attack (Dex)
Sense Motive (Wis)

A mid-level rogue or a high-level paladin
A low-level rogue
A mid-level ranger
A low-level rogue
A low-level rogue
A mid-level fighter
A high-level fighter
A high-level fighter
A mid-level rogue

Diplomacy (Cha)

A high-level bard

Gather Information (Cha)

A high-level bard

Jump (Str)

Disable a glyph of warding
Notice a well-hidden secret door
Bash open an iron door
Calm a hostile owlbear
Hurriedly climb a slick brick wall
Read a letter written in ancient Draconic
Pick a good lock
Track a goblin that passed over hard rocks
a week ago, and it snowed yesterday

Disable Device (Int)
Search (Int)
— (Str)
Wild empathy (Cha)
Climb (Str)
Decipher Script (Int)
Open Lock (Dex)
Survival (Wis)

A 20th-level ranger wearing light armor or a mid-level
barbarian wearing light armor (who really only needs
a 22 because his speed is higher)
A high-level rogue (but not anyone of another class)
A high-level rogue
A fire giant
A high-level druid (and only a druid or ranger)
A high-level barbarian
A high-level wizard
A high-level rogue
A 20th-level ranger who has maxed out his Survival
skill and has been fighting goblinoids as his
favored enemy since 1st level

20
20
21
211
221
231
24
243
25
25
25
26

28
30
28
29
30
30
30
43

1 This number is actually the average roll on the opponent’s opposed
check rather than a fixed number.
2 Actual DC may be higher or lower depending on the caster or ability
user.
3 This is the target’s adjusted Armor Class.
DC: The number a character needs to roll to succeed.
Example: An example of a task with that DC.
Roll (Key Ability): The roll the character makes, usually a skill check,

but sometimes a saving throw, an ability check, or even an attack
roll. The ability that modifies the roll is in parentheses. A “—” in this
column means that the check is an ability check and no skill ranks,
base save bonuses, or base attack bonuses apply.
Who Could Do It: An example of a character that would have about a
50% chance to succeed. When this entry names a character by class,
it assumes that the character has the skill in question. (Other
characters might have a better or worse chance to succeed.)

CHAPTER 2:

Example
Hear the sounds of a pitched battle
Track ten hill giants across a muddy field
Climb a knotted rope
Hear people talking on the other side of a door
Run or charge down steep stairs
Follow tracks of fifteen orcs across firm ground
Ransack a chest full of junk to find a map
Tie a firm knot
Find out the current gossip
Avoid being tripped by a wolf
Assess the value of a silver necklace
Resist the command spell
Bash open a simple wooden door
Make a dying friend stable
Make indifferent people friendly
Jump 10 feet (with a running start)
Tumble past a foe
Get a minor lie past a canny guard
Identify a 1st-level spell as it is being cast
Resist a 10th-level vampire’s dominating gaze
Bash open a strong wooden door
Cast fireball while being shot with an arrow
Notice a typical secret door
Notice a scrying sensor
Notice an invisible creature moving nearby
Pick a very simple lock

USING
THE RULES

DC
–10
0
5
5
10
10
10
10
10
111
12
132
13
15
15
15
15
151
16
172
18
18
20
20
20
20

31

Illus. by S. Fischer

USING
THE RULES

CHAPTER 2:

Riding a mount doesn’t normally require rolls. Only riding into
difficult terrain or performing a specific task involving riding
requires a roll.
Tracking: Soveliss is following a giant scorpion across the
desert. He follows the vermin for 3 miles, making a Survival
check each mile, but tracking in the soft sand is easy. Shortly after
the third mile, a windstorm comes up. Soveliss waits it out, and it
passes after an hour. Now he must make a fourth check to see if
he can pick up the trail in the wind-tossed sand. This check is of
course more difficult than the earlier ones, as are all subsequent
checks until the tracker gets to the place where the scorpion was
when the storm passed.
Normally, tracking requires a Survival check each mile, but a
sudden change in situation can require an additional roll.
Sneaking: Lidda is sneaking through a dungeon filled with
hobgoblins. She must pass by an open doorway beyond which is
a room where the brutes are drinking from a keg of ale. She
makes a Move Silently check, and the hobgoblins make opposed
Listen checks, but they’re not paying much attention, so the halfling sneaks by easily. The hobgoblins aren’t even looking at the
door, so no Hide check is required. To get out, however, she must
pass right through a guard room. She must make a Hide check to
keep to the dark shadows near the walls, and a new Move
Silently check (new because the listeners are different individuals, plus they’re more alert) to get past the guards and through
the room.
A new Move Silently check is needed for each different group
that a sneaker is trying to avoid. Sometimes both a Move Silently
check and a Hide check are needed when sneaking around. Sometimes they’re not.

GENERAL VERSUS SPECIFIC
Sometimes a player will say, “I look around the room. Do I see
anything?” and sometimes she’ll say, “I look into the room,
knowing that I just saw a kobold dart inside. I look behind the
chair and the table, and in all the dark corners. Do I see it?” In
both cases, the DM replies, “Make a Spot check.” However, in
the second example, the character has specialized knowledge of
the situation. She’s asking specific questions. In such cases,
Incorporeal wraiths
lunge toward
an adventurer.

32

always award the character a +2 bonus for favorable conditions.
It’s good to reward a character who has knowledge that allows
her to ask specific questions.
If the kobold’s actually not in the room, but a cloaker waits in
ambush on the ceiling, the character has no special knowledge
and gains no bonus. She doesn’t get a penalty, either—don’t
penalize specific questions. If both the kobold and the cloaker
are in the room, two Spot checks are required (unless the monsters are working together as a group, which is highly unlikely).
The character gets a +2 bonus on the check to spot the kobold
and no bonus on the check to spot the cloaker.

DEGREES OF SUCCESS
When determining how much information a skill check or ability check gives a character, the degree of success is important to
the task. For example, an invisible assassin sneaks up on a cleric.
The cleric makes a Listen check opposed by the assassin’s Move
Silently check, and the cleric is successful. You could describe
this success to the player of the cleric in many different ways,
including these.
• “You heard a noise and you know something’s out there, but
you don’t see anything.”
• “You heard a noise. It sounded like a person moving, and it
came from ‘over there.’ ”
• “You heard a noise. You know there’s an invisible creature
about 15 feet northeast of you, and you can target that creature’s location with an attack.”
To determine how much information to give out, compare
the opposed check results (or for a nonopposed check, the
check result and the DC). In the example above, you give the
first answer if the check merely succeeds on the check. If the
cleric beats the assassin’s check result by 10 or more, he has
achieved a greater success, and he gets the second answer. If he
exceeds the assassin’s check result by 20 or more, he has
achieved a perfect success, and he gets all the information—the
third answer.
Degrees of success usually only apply when the amount of
information you have to give out can be different depending on
how well the character succeeds. Most of the time, the only outcome that matters is whether the character succeeds or fails.

DEGREES OF FAILURE
Usually failure itself is a sufficient problem and does not need to
be compounded. However, failure can sometimes cause additional problems, such as a setting off a trap or alerting a sentry to
the characters’ presence. When such consequences exist, a check
that fails by 5 or more causes them to occur. For example, if
Lidda the rogue misses a Disable Device check by 5 or more, she
sets off the trap she’s trying to disable.
Skills that carry an additional risk on a failed
check include the following. Other risks on a
failure may apply, at your discretion.

Skill
Balance
Climb
Craft
Disable Device
Spot (reading lips)
Swim
Use Rope

Risk
Falling
Falling
Ruin raw materials
Device triggers, or is not disabled
Receive false information
Sink below surface of water
Grappling hook fails in 1d4 rounds

TAKING 10

The game has no rules for trying to stay awake through the
night, writing down every word someone says without a mistake, or opening the stuck lid of a container without spilling a
single drop of its contents. However, in the course of an adventure any of these situations could potentially make or break an
encounter. You have to be ready to make up checks for such nonstandard activities.
Using the example situations above, staying awake might be a
Constitution check (DC 12, +4 for every previous night without
sleep), with an elf character gaining a +2 bonus on her check
because an elf is only giving up 4 hours of trance instead of 8
hours of sleep. Writing down every word that someone says would
require a DC 15 Intelligence check, and a DC 10 Dexterity check
prior to the Intelligence check would provide a +2 bonus on the
roll. Opening the container would normally be a Strength check
(DC about 17), and once that’s accomplished, a DC 13 Dexterity
check is required to keep from spilling the contents.
The three kinds of ability checks you could call for to handle a
nonstandard situation include the following.
• A single check using an relevant ability (as in staying awake).
• One ability check that, depending on the result, might provide
a modifier on another check involving a different ability (as in
writing down every word).

WHICH KIND OF SAVE?
Fortitude, Reflex or Will? When assigning something a saving
throw, use these guidelines.
Fortitude: Fortitude saves reflect physical toughness. They
incorporate stamina, ruggedness, physique, bulk, metabolism,
resistance, immunity, and other similar physical qualities. If it
seems like something that a “tough guy” would be good at, it’s a
Fortitude save.
Reflex: Reflex saves reflect physical (and sometimes mental)
agility. They incorporate quickness, nimbleness, hand-eye coordination, overall coordination, speed, and reaction time. If it
seems like something that an agile person would be good at, it’s
a Reflex save.
Will: Will saves reflect inner strength. They incorporate willpower, mental stability, the power of the mind, levelheadedness,
determination, self-confidence, self-awareness, the superego, and
resistance to temptation. If it seems like something that a confident or determined person would be good at, it’s a Will save.

CHAPTER 2:

ABILITY CHECKS

SAVING THROWS

Adjudicating and varying saving throws works a lot like adjudicating and varying skill and ability checks.

USING
THE RULES

Encourage players to use the take 10 rule. When a character is
swimming or climbing a long distance, for example, this rule can
really speed up play. Normally, you make a check each round with
these movement-related skills, but if there’s no pressure, taking 10
allows them to avoid making a lot of rolls just to get from point A
to point B.

• Two or more separate ability checks, usually involving different
abilities, to accomplish a multipart task (such as opening the
jug without spilling).
You can also use a combination of an ability check and a skill
check in an appropriate situation. For example, when swimming
in frigid water, Lidda might have to make a Constitution check to
avoid taking a penalty on her Swim check.
Decisions on how to handle nonstandard situations are left to
your best judgment.

SAVE OR CHECK?
A character slips and falls. He tries to catch himself on a ledge,
while another character reaching forward attempts to catch him.
Are these Reflex saves or Dexterity checks?
The answer to the above question is “Both.” The character attempting to save himself makes a Reflex save. The character trying
to grab him makes a Dexterity check.

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VARIANT: SKILLS WITH DIFFERENT ABILITIES
Sometimes a check involves a character’s training (skill ranks) plus an
innate talent (ability) not usually associated with that training. A skill
check always includes skill ranks plus an ability modifier, but you can
use a different ability modifier from normal if the character is in a situation where the normal key ability does not apply.
For example:
• A character is underwater and tries to maneuver by pulling himself
along some improvised handholds. Since his body has natural buoyancy (meaning he doesn’t need to pull as hard to lift himself), the
DM rules that the player should make a Climb check keyed to
Dexterity rather than to Strength.
• A character is trying to pick the best horse from several that a
merchant is selling. Normally this would be an Appraise check, but
familiarity with horses ought to count for something. The DM lets
the player use the character’s ranks in Ride instead of ranks in
Appraise and applies the character’s Wisdom modifier (as normal
for an Appraise check).
• A character needs to use main force to restrain a panicked horse.
Normally this would call for a Strength check, but a character skilled

at handling animals ought to be able to use his knowledge to
restrain the horse more easily. The DM lets the player add the character’s ranks in Handle Animal (but not his Charisma modifier) to
the Strength check.
• A character has created a masterwork dagger as a gift for a visiting
noble. He attempts to inscribe it with intricate designs. The DM
rules that this is a Dexterity check to which the character’s ranks in
Craft (weaponsmithing) apply.
• A character is trying to climb a ladder to the bottom of a very deep
chute. Normally, the DM would call for a Constitution check to see
if the character can keep going, but he can also allow the player to
add the character’s ranks in Climb to the roll.
These sorts of unusual situations are always handled on a case-by-case
basis, and only as exceptions. The vast majority of the time, use the
normal key ability.
Remember that when you change the way a skill works in this fashion, you should dictate when the change comes into play—it’s not up
to a player to make this sort of decision. Players may try to rationalize
why they should get to use their best ability score modifier with a skill
that doesn’t normally use that ability, but you shouldn’t allow this sort
of rule change unless you happen to agree with it.

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33

USING
THE RULES

CHAPTER 2:

Key Concept 1: Checks are used to accomplish something,
while saves are used to avoid something.
Key Concept 2: Check modifiers don’t take into account
character level or class level. Save bonuses always do. If a task
seems like it should be easier for a high-level character, use a
saving throw. If it seems like the task should be equally difficult
for any two characters with the same score in the relevant
ability, use a check. For example, opening a door is merely a
reflection of strength, not experience. Thus, it’s a Strength
check. The middle ground is a skill check, such as a Balance
check to avoid falling while running over broken ground. A
Balance check takes level into account only if the character has
ranks in the skill.

DIFFICULTY CLASSES
Assigning DCs is your job, but usually the rules are straightforward. The game has a standard rule for the DC of a saving throw
against a spell, and creatures and magic items with abilities that
force others to make saves always have that saving throw clearly
detailed (or else they function just like spells, and you use the
spell rule). The general rules are as follows.
Spells: 10 + spell level + caster’s ability modifier.
Monster Abilities: 10 + 1/2 monster’s Hit Dice + monster’s
ability modifier.
Miscellaneous: 10 to 20. Use 15 as a default.
As with checks, saving throw die rolls can be modified, or the
DC can be modified. See The DM’s Best Friend, page 30.

ADJUDICATING MAGIC

At the middle range of levels (6th through 11th), most characters cast spells, and they all use magic items, many of which produce strange effects. Handling spells and effects well is often
the difference between a good game and a really good one.

DESCRIBING SPELL EFFECTS
Magic is flashy. When characters cast spells or use magic items,
you should describe what the spell looks, sounds, smells, or feels
like as well as its game effects.
A magic missile could be a dagger-shaped burst of energy that
flies through the air. It also could be a fistlike creation of force
that bashes into its target or the sudden appearance of a
demonic head that spits a blast of energy. When someone
becomes invisible, he or she fades away. A summoned fiend
appears with a flash of blood-red energy and a smell of brimstone. Other spells have more obvious visual effects. A fireball
and a lightning bolt, for example, appear pretty much the way
they are described in the Player’s Handbook. For dramatic flair,
however, you could describe the lightning bolt as being a thin arc
of blue lightning and the fireball as a blast of green fire with red
twinkling bursts within it.
You can let players describe the spells that their characters
cast. Don’t, however, allow a player to use an original description
that makes a spell seem more powerful than it is. A fireball spell
that creates an illusion of a dragon breathing flames goes too far.
Spells without obvious visual effects can be described as well.
Since a target who makes his saving throw against a spell knows
that something happened to him, you could describe a charm
spell or a compulsion spell as a cold claw threatening to enclose
his mind that he manages to shake off. (If the spell worked, the
target would not be aware of such an effect, for his mind would
not be entirely his own.)
Sound can be a powerful descriptive force. You could say that a
lightning bolt is accompanied by a clap of thunder. A cone of cold
sounds like a rush of wind followed by a tinkling of crystalline ice.

HANDLING DIVINATIONS
Spells such as augury, divination, and legend lore require you to come
up with information on the spot. Two problems can arise when
dealing with divinations such as these.

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VARIANT: CRITICAL SUCCESS OR FAILURE
If a player rolls a natural (unmodified) 20 on a check, allow him or her
to make another check. If the second check is successful, the character has achieved a critical success with the use of that skill or ability,
and something particularly good happens. Likewise, if a player rolls a
natural 1, he rolls again. If the second check is a failure, the character
has achieved a critical failure (made a critical blunder), and something
really bad happens.
It’s up to you to determine the specific result of a critical success or
failure. Some examples follow.
Critical Successes
On a Climb check or Swim check, the character moves twice as far
as she would on a normal success.
When using Diplomacy, the character makes a good, trusted friend
for long-term play.
When using a Knowledge skill, the character comes to an important
conclusion related to the task at hand.
When using Search, the character discovers something that she
otherwise never could have found (if anything is present to be found).
When using Survival to track, the character determines some amazing minutiae about her prey. For instance, she realizes that the three
subjects she’s tracking aren’t happy with one another because they
occasionally stop and apparently argue, based on where they stand in
relation to each other.
When using Heal to give first aid, the character heals 1 point of
damage dealt to the subject.

34

Critical Failures
When using a Perform skill, the character displeases his audience so
greatly that they wish to do him harm.
On a Climb check, the character falls so badly that he takes an
additional 1d6 points of damage, or he falls and tears away a few
good handholds, making it a more difficult climb (+5 to the DC) on
the next try.
When using Disguise, the character not only doesn’t look like what
he intended, but actually looks like something offensive or hateful to
the viewers.
When using Escape Artist, the character actually gets himself more
entangled or pinned, adding +5 to the DC on the next try.
On a Use Rope check, the character breaks the rope.
When using Open Lock, the character breaks off his pick in the lock,
making it impossible to open.
When using any kind of tool, the character destroys the tool.
Sometimes, there’s nothing more that can be achieved with a critical
success, or there’s nothing worse than a normal failure. In such a case,
ignore this variant rule.
You should also ignore this variant whenever a character takes 10 or
takes 20. It’s not possible to achieve a critical success when all you’re
trying to do is complete a task without worrying about completing it as
well as possible, and it’s not possible to get a critical failure if you’re
not under pressure when you’re making the check.

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Introducing an unbalanced spell does more damage to your
game than handing out an unbalanced magic item. A magic
item can get stolen, destroyed, sold, or otherwise taken away—
but once a character knows a spell, she’s going to want to keep
using it.

CHAPTER 2:

CREATING NEW SPELLS

When creating a new spell, use the existing spells as benchmarks, and use common sense. Creating a spell is actually fairly
easy—it’s assigning a level to the new spell that’s hard. If the
“best” 2nd-level spell is invisibility, and the “best” 1st-level spell is
charm person or sleep, and the new spell seems to fall between
those spells in power, it’s probably a 2nd-level spell. (Sleep, however, is a strange example, because it’s a spell that gets less useful
as the caster gains levels—compared to a spell such as magic missile or fireball, which gets better, up to a point, for higher-level
casters. Make sure spells that only affect low-level creatures are
low-level spells.)
Here are some pieces of advice to consider.
• If a spell is so good that you can’t imagine a caster not wanting
it all the time, it’s either too powerful or too low in level.
• An experience point (XP) cost is a good balancing force. An
expensive material component is only a moderately good
balancing force. (Money can be easy to come by; an XP loss
almost always hurts.)
• When determining level, compare range, duration, and target
(or area) to other spells to balance. A long duration or a large
area can make up for a lesser effect, depending on the spell.
• A spell with a very limited use (only works against red dragons)
could conceivably be one level lower than it would be if it had
a more general application. Even at a low level, this is the sort of
spell a sorcerer or bard never takes, and other casters would
prepare it only if they knew in advance it would be worthwhile.
• Wizards and sorcerers should not cast healing spells, but they
should have the best offensive spells. If the spell is flashy or
dramatic, it should probably be a wizard/sorcerer spell.
• Clerics are best at spells that deal with alignment and have the
best selection of curative and repair spells. They also have the
best selection of information-gathering spells, such as
commune and divination.
• Druids are best at spells that deal with plants and animals.
• Rangers and paladins should not have flashy attack spells in
the manner of magic missile and fireball.
• Bard spells include enchantments, information-gathering
spells, and a mixture of other kinds of spells, but do not include
powerful offensive spells such as cone of cold.

USING
THE RULES

The Player Could Learn Too Much: The strategic use of a
divination spell could put too much information into the
hands of the players, ruining a mystery or revealing a surprise
too soon. The way to avoid this problem is to keep in mind the
capabilities of the PCs when you create adventures. Don’t forget
that the cleric might be able to use her commune spell to learn
the identity of the king’s murderer. While you shouldn’t allow a
divination to give a player more information than you want her
to have, you shouldn’t cheat a player out of the effects of her
spells just for the sake of the plot. Remember also that certain
spells can protect someone from divinations such as detect evil
and discern lies—but that’s not really the point. Don’t design situations that make the PCs’ divinations worthless—design situations to take divinations into account. Assume that the cleric
learns the identity of the king’s murderer. That’s fine, but the
adventure is about apprehending him, not just identifying him,
and it’s especially important to stop him before he kills the
queen as well.
In short, you should control information, but don’t deny it to
the character who has earned it.
Needing Answers on the Fly: Most likely you won’t know
that a character is going to use a divination spell until the spell is
cast, and so you often need to come up with an answer on the fly.
One of the ways to get around this problem is obvious. To answer a question about what lies at the bottom of the dark staircase,
you have to know what’s there. Chances are you already do know
what’s there, or the character using the divination wouldn’t consider the question worth asking. If you don’t know, then you need
to make something up in a hurry.
More difficult is coming up with a way to convey the information. For example, the description of the divination spell
notes that “The advice can be as simple as a short phrase, or it
might take the form of a cryptic rhyme or omen.” Cryptic
rhymes are often difficult to come up with in the middle of a
game. One trick is to create a rhyme ahead of time that can fit
just about any question, such as “If X is the seed you sow, reap
you will Y and know,” where X is an action and Y is the result. Or
“If into X fate doth thee send, thou wilt find Y in the end,”
where X is a place and Y is a result or consequence, such as
“danger” or “treasure.”

Damage Caps for Spells
For spells that deal damage, use the tables below (one for arcane
spells, one for divine spells) to determine approximately how
much damage a spell should deal. Remember that some spells
(such as burning hands) use a d4 for damage, but fireball uses a d6.
For clerics, a d8 damage die counts as 2d6 for determining the
maximum damage a divine spell can deal.

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VARIANT: SAVES WITH DIFFERENT ABILITIES
To model unusual situations, you can change the ability score that
modifies a save, just as you can do with a skill (see the sidebar on page
33). This is purely a variant, however, since not all DMs want this
degree of complication.
Fortitude saves against mental attacks (such as phantasmal killer)
could be based on Wisdom, making it a cross between a Fortitude and
a Will save. (Apply the character’s Fortitude save bonus from class and
level, then add his Will modifier instead of his Constitution modifier.)
The DM may allow a character to cast a quickened dimension door
spell in response to falling into a pit trap. Reacting quickly to a trap
requires a Reflex save, but in this case the DM might make this a Reflex
save based on Wisdom rather than Dexterity, since casting the spell is
mainly a mental action.

Will saves against enchantments could use Charisma instead of
Will, since Charisma reflects force of personality.
Will saves against illusions could be keyed to Intelligence, the ability that best represents discernment.
As with skills, changes to a saving throw’s key ability are always
handled on a case-by-case basis. Unless you institute changes to
saving throws as a house rule, these changes are very rare.
Remember that when you change the way a saving throw works
in this fashion, you should dictate when the change comes into
play—it’s not up to a player to make this sort of decision. Players
may try to rationalize why they should get to use their best ability
modifier on a saving throw that doesn’t normally use that ability,
but you shouldn’t allow this sort of rule change unles you happen
to agree with it.

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35

USING
THE RULES

CHAPTER 2:

Maximum Damage for Arcane Spells
Arcane
Spell Level
1st
2nd
3rd
4th
5th
6th
7th
8th
9th

Max Damage
(Single Target)
5 dice
10 dice
10 dice
15 dice
15 dice
20 dice
20 dice
25 dice
25 dice

Max Damage
(Multiple Targets)
—
5 dice
10 dice
10 dice
15 dice
15 dice
20 dice
20 dice
25 dice

Experience points are a measure of accomplishment. They represent training and learning by doing, and they illustrate the fact
that, in fantasy, the more experienced a character is, the more power he or she possesses. Experience points allow a character to gain
levels. Gaining levels heightens the fun and excitement.
Experience points can be spent by spellcasters to power some of
their most potent spells. Experience points also represent the personal puissance that a character must imbue an object with in
order to create a magic item.
In addition to experience, characters also earn treasure on their
adventures. They find gold and other valuables that allow them to
buy bigger and better equipment, and they find magic items that
give them new and better abilities.

Maximum Damage for Divine Spells
Divine
Spell Level
1st
2nd
3rd
4th
5th
6th
7th
8th
9th

Max Damage
(Single Target)
1 die
5 dice
10 dice
10 dice
15 dice
15 dice
20 dice
20 dice
25 dice

Max Damage
(Multiple Targets)
—
1 die
5 dice
10 dice
10 dice
15 dice
15 dice
20 dice
20 dice

The damage cap depends on whether a spell affects a single
target or multiple targets. A single-target spell affects only one
creature or has its total damage divided among several creatures.
For example, a magic missile spell can deliver 5 dice of damage to
one target. If it strikes more than one target, its damage dice must
be divided among them. A multiple-target spell deals full damage
to two or more creatures simultaneously. For example, a fireball
damages everything within its 20-foot spread.

REWARDS

Mialee and Tordek stand within the treasure chamber, surveying
the riches before them. To get there, they slew three trolls, bypassed several devious traps, and solved the riddle of the golden
golem to stop it from crushing them. Now they are not only
richer, but from their experiences they have grown in knowledge
and power.

EXPERIENCE AWARDS
When the party defeats monsters, you award the characters experience points (XP). The more dangerous the monsters, compared
to the party’s level, the more XP the characters earn. The PCs split
the XP between themselves, and each character increases in level
as his or her personal XP total increases.
You need to calculate XP awards during the course of an adventure, whether it’s one you wrote or one you purchased. You may
wish to award experience points at the end of a session to enable
players to advance their characters in level if they have enough
experience points. Alternatively, you may wish to give out XP
awards at the beginning of the game session following the one in
which the characters earned it. This gives you time between sessions to use these rules and determine the experience award.
As part of determining experience point awards, you need to
break the game down into encounters and then break the encounters down into parts. If you’re using monsters from the Monster
Manual, some of the work has already been done for you. Each
monster in that book has a Challenge Rating (CR) that, when
compared to party level, translates directly into an XP award.
A Challenge Rating is a measure of how easy or difficult a monster or trap is to overcome. Challenge Ratings are used in Chapter
3: Adventures to determine Encounter Levels (EL), which in turn
indicate how difficult an encounter (often involving multiple
monsters) is to overcome. A monster is usually overcome by defeating it in battle, a trap by being disarmed, and so forth.
You must decide when a challenge has been overcome. Usually,
this is simple to do. Did the PCs defeat the enemy in battle? Then
they met the challenge and earned experience points. Other

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VARIANT: SPELL ROLL
Substitute this variant for the standard method of determining saving
throw DCs for spells. Every time a character casts a spell that requires
a target to make a saving throw, the caster rolls 1d20 and adds the spell
level and the appropriate ability modifier. The result is the DC for the
saving throw. Roll once even for a spell that affects many creatures.
This variant introduces a great deal more randomness into spellcasting—sometimes low-level spells cast by mediocre casters will
have high DCs, and sometimes high-level spells cast by powerful
casters are easy to resist. It downplays the level of the spell and the
ability modifier. As with variant combat rules, any change that
increases chance in a battle favors the underdog, and that’s usually
the enemy of the PCs.

VARIANT: POWER COMPONENTS

36

The horn of the rare red minotaur can be combined with a potent
mixture of herbs that can aid in restoring wholeness to the afflicted. So
potent is the energy contained in the concoction that a cleric who uses
it while casting greater restoration (and uses it up) need not devote any
personal power (XP) in order to cast the spell.

This variant allows for special rare ingredients (“power components”) to be added to material spell components in place of an XP
component. You’re free to allow this on a case-by-case basis. Perhaps
these components exist only for certain spells. They’re certainly rare,
and certainly expensive—ten to twenty times the XP component in
gold pieces is a good baseline price. Further, characters may need to
consult sages or cast divinations in order to find out what the proper
ingredients are.
Consider not allowing characters to buy power components—
instead, make them the object of an adventure. The hunt for the red
minotaur can be a challenging and entertaining adventure by itself, but
if the defeat of the minotaur is the first step toward the goal of bringing back a fallen comrade, the scenario takes on a larger importance.
In the same way, special ingredients can substitute for the XP that a
character otherwise has to spend to create magic items.
This variant works if it makes powerful magic more colorful and if it
fits the way you want to portray magic in your campaign. It fails if it
means that the only hard control on casting powerful spells and creating magic items (the XP component) slips away, so that such actions
become commonplace.

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Monsters Below CR 1
Some monsters are fractions of a Challenge Rating.
For instance, a single orc is not a good challenge
for even a 1st-level party, although two
might be. You could think of an orc as
approximately CR 1/2. For these cases,
calculate XP as if the creature were CR
1, then divide the result by 2.

CHAPTER 2:

Do not award XP for creatures that enemies summon or otherwise add to their forces with magic powers. An enemy’s ability
to summon or add these creatures is part of the enemy’s CR
already. (You don’t give PCs more XP if a drow cleric casts unholy

blight on them, so don’t give them more XP if she casts summon
monster IV instead.)
Example: A party of five PCs defeats two CR 2 monsters and a
CR 3 monster. The party consists of a 3rd-level character, three
4th-level characters, and a 5th-level character. The 3rd-level character earns 600 XP for each CR 2 monster and 900 XP for the CR 3
monster. That’s 2,100 XP, and dividing by 5 (the number of characters in the party) yields an experience award of 420 XP. The 4thlevel characters each earn 400 XP [(600 + 600 + 800) ÷ 5] and the
5th-level character earns 350 XP [(500 + 500 + 750) ÷ 5].

USING
THE RULES

times, it can be trickier. Suppose the PCs sneak past the sleeping
minotaur to get into the magical vault—did they overcome the
minotaur encounter? If their goal was to get into the vault and the
minotaur was just a guardian, then the answer is probably yes. It’s
up to you to make such judgments.
Only characters who take part in an encounter should gain the
commensurate awards. Characters who died before the encounter
took place, or did not participate for some other reason, earn nothing, even if they are raised or healed later on.
To determine the XP award for an encounter, follow these steps.
1. Determine each character’s level. Don’t forget to account for
ECL (see Monsters as Races, page 172) if any of the characters
are of a powerful race.
2. For each monster defeated, determine that
single monster’s Challenge Rating.
3. Use Table 2–6: Experience Point
Awards (Single Monster) to crossreference one character’s level
with the Challenge Rating for
each defeated monster to
find the base XP award.
4. Divide the base XP award by the
number of characters in the party. This is
the amount of XP that one character
receives for helping defeat that monster.
5. Add up all the XP awards for all the
monsters the character helped defeat.
6. Repeat the process for each character.

Challenge Ratings for NPCs
An NPC with a PC class has a Challenge
Rating equal to the NPC’s level. Thus, an
8th-level sorcerer is an 8th-level encounter. As a
rule of thumb, doubling the number of foes adds 2 to
the Encounter Level. Therefore, two 8th-level fighters are an EL
10 encounter. A party of four NPC 8th-level characters is an EL 12
encounter.
Some powerful creatures are more of a challenge than their
level would suggest. A drow, for example, has spell resistance and
other abilities, so her CR is equal to her level +1.
Some creatures have monster levels in addition to their class
levels, such as a centaur ranger. In this case, add the creature’s

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VARIANT: SUMMONING INDIVIDUAL MONSTERS
When a character casts a summon monster or summon nature’s ally
spell, she gets a typical, random creature of the kind she chooses. As
a variant in your campaign, you can rule that each spellcaster gets
specific, individual creatures rather than just some random one. This
variant lets players feel more ownership over the creatures that their
characters summon, but it entails some special problems, so don’t
allow it without considering it carefully.
Specific Creatures: Whenever a spellcaster summons a single creature of a given kind, it’s always the same creature. A player can roll the
ability scores and hit points for each creature that his character can
summon. His specific creatures may be above or below average. Allow
the player to take average statistics instead of rolling if he wants to
avoid the risk of getting stuck with bad dice rolls. (There’s no “hopeless creature reroll” for bad ability scores in this case.) The player can
also name each creature and define its distinguishing characteristics.
Multiple Creatures: Whenever a spellcaster summons more creatures, the first one is always the same, and each successive creature is
likewise always the same. Thus, if Mialee can summon up to three
celestial eagles named Kulik, Skitky, and Kliss, then she always gets
Kulik when she summons one celestial eagle, Kulik and Skitky when
she summons two, and all three when she summons three. The player
can roll ability scores and hit points for all three.
The summoner gets the same creatures no matter which version of
a spell she uses. Mialee gets Kulik with summon monster II and she
gets Kulik plus possibly Skitky and Kliss with summon monster III.
Summoning Limits: Getting the same intelligent summoned creature over and over again gives a summoner certain advantages. She
can, for instance, send a creature to scout out an area for the duration
of the spell and then summon it up again to get a report. If the crea-

ture is killed (and thus sent back to its home) or dispelled, however,
that individual creature is not available to be summoned for 24 hours.
The summoner summons one fewer creature of that kind because the
unavailable creature still takes up its normal “slot.” Thus, if Kulik is
killed and later that day Mialee summons two celestial eagles, she only
gets Skitky (instead of Kulik and Skitky).
If a creature that a character summons is actually, truly killed (not
just “killed” while summoned), it is no longer available, and the
summoner gets one less creature of that kind than normal. On attaining a new level, however, the summoner may replace the slain creature
(see below).
Replacing Creatures: Each time a summoner gains a level in a spellcasting class, she can drop out one of her creatures and roll up a new
one to fill its “slot.” For example, at 5th level, Mialee can summon
Kulik, Skitky, and Kliss with summon monster III. When she reaches 6th
level, she can drop any one of her summonable creatures and replace
it with a new one. If Kulik has low ability scores or if it has permanently
died, she can drop it in favor of a new, randomly rolled creature, which
then occupies her “first celestial eagle” slot.
Improving Creatures: Summoners can improve their creatures.
Typically, they do so by giving them magic items or other special
objects. The trick is, a summoned creature can’t take things back home
with it. When a summoned creature disappears, it leaves all the things
that it gained while on the Material Plane. Mialee can’t just summon up
Kulik and give it a cloak of resistance. She has to go to its plane or bring
it actually onto the Material Plane before she can give it anything it can
keep. The way to get a creature to actually come to the Material Plane is
to use a lesser planar ally, planar ally, greater planar ally, lesser planar binding, planar binding, greater planar binding, or gate spell, since these are
all calling spells and actually bring the creature to the caster.

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37

USING
THE RULES

CHAPTER 2:

Table 2–6: Experience Point Awards (Single Monster)
Character
Level
1st–3rd
4th
5th
6th
7th
8th
9th
10th
11th
12th
13th
14th
15th
16th
17th
18th
19th
20th

—–————————————————————— Challenge Rating —–———————––——————————————
CR 1
CR 2
CR 3
CR 4
CR 5
CR 6
CR 7
CR 8
CR 9
CR 10
300
600
900
1,350
1,800
2,700
3,600
5,400
7,200
10,800
300
600
800
1,200
1,600
2,400
3,200
4,800
6,400
9,600
300
500
750
1,000
1,500
2,250
3,000
4,500
6,000
9,000
300
450
600
900
1,200
1,800
2,700
3,600
5,400
7,200
263
350
525
700
1,050
1,400
2,100
3,150
4,200
6,300
200
300
400
600
800
1,200
1,600
2,400
3,600
4,800
*
225
338
450
675
900
1,350
1,800
2,700
4,050
*
*
250
375
500
750
1,000
1,500
2,000
3,000
*
*
*
275
413
550
825
1,100
1,650
2,200
*
*
*
*
300
450
600
900
1,200
1,800
*
*
*
*
*
325
488
650
975
1,300
*
*
*
*
*
*
350
525
700
1,050
*
*
*
*
*
*
*
375
563
750
*
*
*
*
*
*
*
*
400
600
*
*
*
*
*
*
*
*
*
425
*
*
*
*
*
*
*
*
*
*
*
*
*
*
*
*
*
*
*
*
*
*
*
*
*
*
*
*
*
*

Character
—–————————————————————— Challenge Rating —–———————––——————————————
Level
CR 11
CR 12
CR 13
CR 14
CR 15
CR 16
CR 17
CR 18
CR 19
CR 20
1st–3rd
**
**
**
**
**
**
**
**
**
**
4th
12,800
**
**
**
**
**
**
**
**
**
5th
12,000
18,000
**
**
**
**
**
**
**
**
6th
10,800
14,400
21,600
**
**
**
**
**
**
**
7th
8,400
12,600
16,800
25,200
**
**
**
**
**
**
8th
7,200
9,600
14,400
19,200
28,800
**
**
**
**
**
9th
5,400
8,100
10,800
16,200
21,600
32,400
**
**
**
**
10th
4,500
6,000
9,000
12,000
18,000
24,000
36,000
**
**
**
11th
3,300
4,950
6,600
9,900
13,200
19,800
26,400
39,600
**
**
12th
2,400
3,600
5,400
7,200
10,800
14,400
21,600
28,800
43,200
**
13th
1,950
2,600
3,900
5,850
7,800
11,700
15,600
23,400
31,200
46,800
14th
1,400
2,100
2,800
4,200
6,300
8,400
12,600
16,800
25,200
33,600
15th
1,125
1,500
2,250
3,000
4,500
6,750
9,000
13,500
18,000
27,000
16th
800
1,200
1,600
2,400
3,200
4,800
7,200
9,600
14,400
19,200
17th
638
850
1,275
1,700
2,550
3,400
5,100
7,650
10,200
15,300
18th
450
675
900
1,350
1,800
2,700
3,600
5,400
8,100
10,800
19th
*
475
713
950
1,425
1,900
2,850
3,800
5,700
8,550
20th
*
*
500
750
1,000
1,500
2,000
3,000
4,000
6,000
For monsters with CRs higher than 20, double the reward for a CR two levels below the desired CR. Thus, a CR 21 reward equals double the CR 19
reward, CR 22 is double the CR 20 reward, CR 23 is double the CR 21 reward, and so on.
Bold numbers indicate the amount of XP that a standard encounter for a party of that level should provide.
* The table doesn’t support XP for monsters that individually are eight Challenge Ratings lower than the character’s level, since an encounter with
multiple weak creatures is hard to measure. See Assigning Ad Hoc XP Awards, page 39.
** The table doesn’t support awards for encounters eight or more Challenge Ratings higher than the character’s level. If the party is taking on
challenges that far above their level, something strange is going on, and the DM needs to think carefully about the awards rather than just taking
them off a table. See Assigning Ad Hoc XP Awards, page 39.

base CR to its total class levels to get its overall CR. For
example, a centaur is CR 1, so a centaur who’s also a 7th-level
ranger is CR 8.
Since NPC classes (see Chapter 5: Campaigns) are weaker than
PC classes, levels in an NPC class contribute less to a creature’s CR
than levels in a PC class. For an NPC with an NPC class, determine
her Challenge Rating as if she had a PC class with one less level.
For a creature with monster levels in addition to NPC class levels,
add the NPC levels –1 to the creature’s base CR (always adding at
least 1).
For example, when adding class levels to some sample characters, the resulting CRs would be as given in the following table.
Remember that warrior is an NPC class, and fighter is a PC class.

38

—————— Class Levels ——————
Creature
1
2
10
Dwarf warrior
CR 1/2
CR 1
CR 9
Dwarf fighter
CR 1
CR 2
CR 10
Orc warrior
CR 1/2
CR 1
CR 9
Orc fighter
CR 1
CR 2
CR 10
Drow warrior
CR 1
CR 2
CR 10
Drow fighter
CR 2
CR 3
CR 11
CR 3
CR 3
CR 11
Ogre warrior 1
Ogre fighter 1
CR 3
CR 4
CR 12
1 The ogre with no class levels has a CR of 2. Ogres with class levels
retain their original 4 HD, attack bonuses, and other aspects of their
monster levels.

Challenge Ratings for Traps

An orc warband that attacks
the PCs by flying over them
on primitive hang gliders and
dropping large rocks is not the
same encounter as one in which
the orcs just charge in with spears.
Sometimes, the circumstances give the
characters’ opponents a distinct advantage. Other times, the PCs have an
advantage. Adjust the XP award and the
EL depending on how greatly circumstances change the encounter’s difficulty.
Encounters of EL 2 or lower are the
exception. They increase and decrease in
proportion to the change in XP. For example,
an EL 1 encounter that’s twice as difficult as
normal is EL 2, not EL 3.
You can, of course, increase or decrease XP
by smaller amounts, such as +10% or –10%,
and just eyeball the EL.
Modify all ELs and experience rewards
as you see fit, but keep these points in
mind.
• Experience points drive the game.
Don’t be too stingy or too generous.
• Most encounters do not need modifying. Don’t waste a lot of time
worrying about the minutiae.
Circumstance
XP Award Adjustment
Half as difficult
XP × 1/2
Significantly less difficult
XP × 2/3
Significantly more difficult XP × 1-1/2
Twice as difficult
XP × 2

EL Adjustment
EL –2
EL –1
EL +1
EL +2

Assigning Ad Hoc XP Awards
Sometimes the XP table doesn’t quite
cover a given situation. If two orcs
are an EL 1 encounter, four orcs EL
3, eight orcs EL 5, and sixteen orcs
EL 7 (maybe), are thirty-two orcs
an EL 9 encounter? A party of 9th
level characters almost certainly
can wipe them out with ease. By 9th
level, a character’s defenses are so
good that a standard orc cannot hit
him or her, and one or two spells
cast by a character of that level
could destroy all thirty-two
orcs. At such a point, your
judgment overrules whatever the XP table would
say.
An encounter so easy that it
uses up none or
almost none of
the PCs’ resources
shouldn’t result in any
XP award at all, while a
dangerous encounter that
the PCs overcome handily
through luck or excellent
strategy is worth full XP. However, an encounter in which
the PCs defeat something far
above their own level (CRs higher
than their level by eight or more) was
probably the result of fantastic luck or a
unique set of circumstances, and thus a full
XP award may not be appropriate. You’re going
to have to make these decisions. As a guideline, the minimum and maximum awards given on Table 2–6: Experience Point Awards (Single Monster) for a group of a given
level are the least and most XP you should award a group.
Circumstances in your campaign may alter this, however.
You might decide that an EL 2 encounter is worth at least a little to

CHAPTER 2:

Modifying XP Awards
and Encounter Levels

Don’t worry about modifying encounters until after you have
played the game a while.
• Bad rolls or poor choices on the PCs’
part should not modify ELs or XP
awards. If the encounter is difficult
because the players were unlucky
or careless, they don’t get more
experience.
• Just because the PCs are
worn down from prior encounters does not mean that later (more
difficult) encounters should gain
higher awards. Judge the difficulty of an
encounter on its own merits.

USING
THE RULES

Traps vary considerably. Those presented in this book
(see pages 70–74) have Challenge Ratings assigned to them. For traps you and your players
create, as a rule of thumb, assign +1 CR for
every 2d6 points of damage the trap deals.
For magic traps, start at CR 1 and then assign
+1 CR for every 2d6 points of damage the trap
deals or +1 for every level of the spell the trap
simulates. Traps generally shouldn’t have a
Challenge Rating greater than 10.
Overcoming the challenge of a trap
involves encountering the trap, either by
disarming it, avoiding it, or simply surviving the damage it deals. A trap
never discovered or never
bypassed was not encountered
(and hence provides no XP
award).

pqqqqrs
VARIANT: FREE-FORM EXPERIENCE
Instead of calculating experience points, just hand out about 75 XP
times the average party level for each character in the party per
balanced encounter. Hand out more for tough encounters: 100 XP per
level per character, or even 150 XP. Award less for easy ones: 25 to 50
XP. Alternatively, you could give out 300 XP times the average party

level for each character per session, modified slightly for tough or easy
sessions.
It’s very simple to track how quickly characters gain levels using this
system. The drawback is that it generalizes PC rewards, rather than
granting them based on specific accomplishments. You risk players
becoming dissatisfied by gaining the same reward every session.

pqqqqrs

39

your 10th-level party since it caused them to waste some major
spells, so you give them half the XP an EL 3 encounter would have
earned them, or 125 XP. Or you might judge that a large quantity
of CR 1 monsters is indeed an appropriate challenge for a 10thlevel party because the group had lost all their equipment before
the fight started.

USING
THE RULES

CHAPTER 2:

STORY AWARDS
The PCs have rescued the constable’s son from the troll lair. They
leave the lair and stop their current quest so they can return the
young boy to his home and parents. Do they get experience points
for this?
Some DMs want the answer to be “Of course they do.” To
accomplish this, you need to set up a system in which you can
award XP for accomplishing goals and for actions and encounters
that don’t involve combat.
Sometimes you may want to estimate experience point awards
for actions that normally don’t result in an XP award under the
standard system. These are called story awards, and they should
only be used by an experienced DM.

CRs for Noncombat Encounters
You could award experience points for solving a puzzle, learning a
secret, convincing an NPC to help, or escaping from a powerful
foe. Mysteries, puzzles, and roleplaying encounters (such as negotiations) can be assigned Challenge Ratings, but these sorts of
awards require more ad hoc ruling on the DM’s part.
Challenge Ratings for noncombat encounters are even more of
a variable than traps. A roleplaying encounter should only be considered a challenge at all if there’s some risk involved and success
or failure really matters. For example, the PCs encounter an NPC
who knows the secret password to get into a magical prison that
holds their companion. The PCs must get the information out of
her—if they don’t, their friend remains trapped forever. In another instance, the characters must cross a raging river by wading,
swimming, or climbing across a rope. If they fail, they can’t get to
where the magic gem lies, and if they fail spectacularly, they are
washed away down the river.
You might see such situations as having a Challenge Rating
equal to the level of the party. Simple puzzles and minor encounters should have a CR lower than the party’s level, if they are worth
an award at all. They should never have a CR higher than the
party’s level. As a rule, you probably don’t want to hand out a lot of
experience for these kinds of encounters unless you intentionally
want to run a low-combat game.
In the end, this kind of story award feels pretty much like a
standard award. Don’t ever feel obligated to give out XP for an encounter that you don’t feel was much of a challenge. Remember
that the key word in “experience award” is award. The PCs should
have to do something impressive to get an award.

Mission Goals
Often an adventure has a mission or a goal that pulls the PCs into
the action. Should the PCs accomplish their goal, they may get a
story award. No Challenge Ratings are involved here: The XP
award is entirely up to you.
Such rewards should be fairly large—large enough to seem significant when compared to the standard awards earned along the
way toward achieving the mission goal. The mission award should
be more than the XP for any single encounter on the mission, but
not more than all standard awards for encounters for the mission
put together (see Story Awards and Standard Awards, below).
Potentially, you could give out only story awards and no standard
awards. In this nonstandard game, the mission award would be the
main contributor to the PCs’ experience point totals.
It’s possible that in a single adventure a party can have multiple
goals. Sometimes the goals are all known at the outset: Unchain
the gold dragon, destroy or imprison the two black dragons, and
find the lost staff of healing. Sometimes the next goal is discovered
when the first one is accomplished: Now that the illithid is dead,
find the people who were under its mental control and bring them
back to town.
Some players will want to set up personal goals for their characters. Perhaps the PC paladin holds a grudge against the night
hag from when they encountered her before. Although not critical to the adventure at hand, it becomes his personal goal to
avenge the wrongs she committed by destroying her. Or,
another character wants to find the magic item that will enable
her to return to her home village and stop the plague. These are
worthy goals, and the individual character who achieves them
should get a special award. “I want to get more powerful” is not
an individual goal, since that’s what just about everyone wants
to accomplish.
Remember: A goal that’s easy to accomplish is worth little or no
award. Likewise, goals that merely reflect standard awards (such as
“Kill all the monsters in this cavern complex”) should be treated as
standard awards.

Roleplaying Awards
A player who enjoys playing a role well may sometimes make
decisions that fit his or her character but don’t necessarily lead to
the most favorable outcome for that character. Good roleplayers
might perform some deeds that seem particularly fitting for
their characters. Someone playing a bard might compose a short
poem about events in the campaign. A smart-aleck sorcerer
might crack an in-game joke that sends the other players to the
floor laughing. Another player might have his character fall in
love with an NPC and then devote some portion of his time to
playing out that love affair. Such roleplaying should be
rewarded, since it enhances the game. (If it doesn’t enhance the
game, don’t give an award.)

pqqqqrs
VARIANT: FASTER OR SLOWER EXPERIENCE

40

You control the pace of character progress, and the easiest way to do
that is through experience point awards. Obviously, if you want the
characters to progress faster, simply make every award 10%, 20%, or
even 50% larger. If you want characters to progress more slowly, give
awards that are some suitable fraction of the original award.
When modifying awards in this way, keep track of the amount of
change you impose on the PCs’ progress. You need to balance this with
the pace of treasure awarded. For example, if you increase the amount
of experience earned by the characters by 20% across the board, treasure also needs to increase by 20%, or else the PCs end up poor and
underequipped for their level.

Modifying Challenge Ratings
The other way to modify character progress is to modify the Challenge
Ratings of monsters encountered. If you increase the CRs, you increase
the experience awards and speed up advancement.
Of course, whether or not you want to change character progress,
you may decide to modify various Challenge Ratings. If you think that
a certain monster is worth more (or less) than its Monster Manual
rating, feel free to change it. Keep in mind, however, that just because
the PCs in your campaign happen to all have bane weapons useful
against aberrations, that doesn’t necessarily make beholders a lesser
challenge overall. It just means that your party is particularly well
equipped to deal with their challenge.

pqqqqrs

XP awards for roleplaying are purely ad hoc. That is, no system
exists for assigning Challenge Ratings to bits of roleplaying. The
awards should be just large enough for the player to notice them,
probably no more than 50 XP per character level per adventure.

Story Awards and Standard Awards

Characters can lose experience points by casting certain
spells or creating magic items. This allocation of personal
power serves a specific game function: It limits and controls
these activities, as well as making them interesting choices for
players. In general, however, you shouldn’t use experience
penalties in any other situation. While awards can be used to
encourage behavior, penalties don’t serve to discourage bad
behavior. They usually only lead to arguments and anger. If a
player behaves in a way you don’t want him to behave, talk to
him about it. If he continues, stop playing with him.

DEATH AND EXPERIENCE POINTS
If a character takes part in an encounter, even if she dies
during the encounter, that character gets a share of the experience points. If a character dies and is raised, the awarded
experience points are granted to her after she comes back
from the dead (and after she loses the level from death, if
appropriate).

CHAPTER 2:

EXPERIENCE PENALTIES

USING
THE RULES

You can handle story awards in one of two ways. The first is to
make all awards story awards. Thus, killing monsters would earn
no experience in and of itself—although it may allow characters
to achieve what they need to do in order to earn a story award. If
you follow this method, you should still pay attention to how
many experience points the characters would be earning by
defeating enemies, so that you can make sure the PCs’ treasure
totals are in line with what they should be earning.
The second way is to use standard awards for defeating enemies
but award only half the normal amount for doing so, making up
the other half through story awards. This method has the virtue of
keeping the treasure earned at about the same rate as XP earned.
Don’t simply add story awards to standard awards (even if
you compensate by giving out more treasure as well) unless
you want to speed up character progression.

CHARACTER DEATH

It happens. Adventuring is a high-risk enterprise. Characters in
your campaign will die, sometimes because they were reckless and
sometimes because luck was against them. Fortunately, D&D is a
game, and death doesn’t have to be the end.
Raise dead, reincarnation, resurrection, and true resurrection can
return characters to life. Bringing Back the Dead, on page 171 of
the Player ’s Handbook, briefly discusses all four. Any creature
brought back to life loses one level of experience, unless brought
back with true resurrection. The character’s new XP total is midway
between the minimum needed for his or her new level and the
minimum needed for the next one. If the character was 1st level,
he or she loses 2 points of Constitution instead of losing a level.
This level loss or Constitution loss cannot be repaired by any
mortal spell, even wish or miracle. Still, the revived character can
improve his or her Constitution normally (at 4th, 8th, 12th, 16th,
and 20th level) and earn experience by further adventuring to
regain the lost level.
Raise dead has a number of limitations. The caster can only
raise characters who have been dead up to one day per caster
level. Casting time is a single minute. It does heal 1 hit point
per Hit Die, but the body of the raised character must be
whole. Raise dead doesn’t regenerate missing body parts.
Paying someone to cast raise dead costs 450 gp (assuming a 9thlevel caster) plus 5,000 gp for expensive material components.
Reincarnate brings back creatures dead one week or less, but
in entirely new bodies. The subject of the spell faces the same
level loss or Constitution loss as with other spells. Paying someone to cast reincarnate costs 1,280 gp (assuming a 7th-level
caster), making it the least expensive option. The drawback, of
course, is that the player has no control over the new form
and may not be welcome in civilized society.
Resurrection must be cast within 10 years per
caster level of the time of death. It
works as long as some small
portion of the character’s
body still exists.

TREASURE AND OTHER REWARDS
Unless you’re making up an adventure as you go, you assign
treasure as you make up encounters. The rules for treasure and
other rewards appear in Chapter 3: Adventures.

pqqqqrs
BEHIND THE CURTAIN:
EXPERIENCE POINTS
The experience point award for encounters is based on the concept
that 13.33 encounters of an EL equal to the player characters’ level
allow them to gain a level.
Thirteen or fourteen encounters can seem to go by very quickly.
This is particularly true at low levels, where most of the encounters
that characters take part in are appropriate for their levels. At higher
levels, the PCs face a varied range of Encounter Levels (more lower
than higher, if they’re to survive) and thus gain levels somewhat
more slowly. Higher-level characters also tend to spend more and
more time interacting with each other and with NPCs, which results
in fewer XP over time.
With this information in mind, you can roughly gauge how quickly
the PCs in your game will advance. In fact, you can control it. You are
in charge of what encounters happen and the circumstances in which
they occur. You can predict at what level the characters will reach the

dark temple and prepare accordingly. If it turns out that you predicted
incorrectly, you can engineer encounters to allow them to reach the
appropriate level or increase the difficulty of the temple encounters
as needed.
Published adventures always provide a guideline for which levels
of characters are appropriate to play. Keep in mind that this information is based on character power as well as expected treasure.
Table 5–1: Character Wealth by Level gives a guideline for about how
much treasure a character of a certain level should possess. This
guideline is based on the (slightly more than) thirteen-encountersper-level formula and assumes average treasures were given out. If
you use a published adventure but tend to be generous with experience points, you might find that the characters in your group don’t
have as much treasure as the scenario assumes. Likewise, if you’re
stingy with experience points, the characters will probably gain treasure faster than levels. Of course, if you’re stingy or generous with
both treasure and experience points, it might just all even out.

pqqqqrs

41

USING
THE RULES

CHAPTER 2:

Casting time is a full 10 minutes. It heals the character completely
when cast, but the character suffers the same level loss or Constitution loss as with raise dead. Paying someone to cast resurrection costs
910 gp (assuming a 13th-level caster) plus 10,000 gp for expensive
material components.
True resurrection, like resurrection, can be cast on a character who
has been dead for up to 10 years per caster level. No part of the
deceased is required for the spell. Casting time is a full 10 minutes.
True resurrection restores a character completely, with no loss of
level or Constitution. This is the most expensive of these spells to
have cast. Paying someone to cast true resurrection costs 1,530 gp
(assuming a 17th-level caster) plus 25,000 gp for expensive material components.

MAKING A NEW CHARACTER
A player may decide that she wants to make a new character rather
than continue adventuring with her existing one. Or maybe
you’ve recruited a new player for your campaign. When a player
makes a new character for your game, you have an important
choice to make: What level will the new character be?
In general, D&D encourages continuity of characters in the
adventuring group. Players get a greater sense of accomplishment if they develop their characters over time. The group is
more effective—and has more fun—if they learn the strengths,
weaknesses, and quirks of the PCs they’re adventuring with. A
sense of teamwork is hard to develop if the roster of PCs is
always shifting.
But there are times when making a new character is the best
option. Under the following circumstances, a new character may
be warranted.
• A new player joins the campaign.
• An existing PC dies, and the party doesn’t have access to magic
that brings her back to life.
• An existing PC is unable to adventure for an extended period of
time. Perhaps he was turned to stone by a medusa cult, which
then absconded with the statue. The rest of the party intends to
rescue him, but until that happens, he should have another
character to play so he’s not left out.
• The players find they don’t have a character to cover a key party
role. If the player of the sole PC cleric moves away, another
player might make up a new cleric so the party still has access
to healing magic.
• An existing PC has become difficult to play, and the player is
amenable to a new character. Perhaps you allowed an ogre
barbarian PC into your game, but the players find they prefer
political intrigues and urban adventures.
• A player is eager to try a new race or class.
How you handle each of these situations is up to you. Choosing
a level for the new character is matter of finding the balance point

where a new character is viable and fun to play without outshining the other PCs.
Under most circumstances, a new character should begin play
at the beginning of the level lower than the player’s previous PC.
For example, if a player wants his 9th-level paladin to ride off
into the sunset, his new character starts with 28,000 XP, the
beginning of 8th level. A new player should create his first character at the beginning of the level where the lowest-level existing PC is.
In some circumstances, you might want to be more lenient. If
the lowest-level PC is magically imprisoned, you can let that
player create a new, temporary character at the same level until the
original PC is rescued. But avoid situations where a player would
be punished for sticking with an existing PC rather than creating
a new one. It’s bad for continuity if a player picks a brand-new
10th-level character over a longtime PC who will come back from
the dead at 9th level.
You also need to tell the player creating the new character how
much gear to have. The new PC should have the proper equipment to be an effective character, but his weapons, armor, and
magic items shouldn’t be so good that they inspire jealousy among
the other players. Two factors determine how much gear to allow:
the average amount of gear among the other PCs and whether the
new PC will have access to an old PC’s gear.
As long as your campaign is reasonably close to the PC gear
guidelines outlined in Creating PCs above 1st Level (page 199),
you can use Table 5–1: Character Wealth by Level to set the gear.
For example, a new 13th-level character should have 110,000 gp
in gear. If your characters are more than 20% higher or lower
than the values on the table, adjust the gear value for the new
character by the same percentage. If the three 12th-level characters each have 132,000 gp in equipment (50% above the norm of
88,000), give a new 11th-level character 99,000 gp (50% above the
norm of 66,000).
If the new character is replacing an old PC, reduce the treasure amount by whatever the old PC leaves behind. For example,
if a player creates a new 3rd-level druid because her 4th-level
druid died, she can just pick up the old PC’s gear and use it,
rather than getting a gear allowance from you. But if the player
makes a 3rd-level rogue instead, the gear of a 4th-level druid
won’t be as useful. If the party sells the druid’s gear for 1,000 gp,
give the new 3rd-level rogue a gear allowance of 1,700 gp so the
character will have a total of 2,700 gp in equipment. If the party
instead buries the druid with her equipment, give the rogue
2,700 gp worth of equipment.
As a general rule, a new character can spend no more than half
her total wealth on a single item, and no more than one quarter
the total wealth on consumables such as ammunition, scrolls,
potions, wands, or alchemical items.

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BEHIND THE CURTAIN:
WHEN A PC FALLS BEHIND

42

D&D works best when all the PCs are within a level or two of each
other. The classes are carefully balanced against each other at each
level, and the Challenge Rating system gives you great freedom to
design appropriate challenges that are fun for everyone at the table.
But often an unlucky PC—or the PC of a sometimes-absent player—
will fall behind the rest of the party. If the difference is one or two levels,
you don’t need to do anything special. The experience point system
gives bigger awards to lower-level PCs, so a character who’s behind by
a level or two will naturally catch up over time. For example, if a party of
three 9th-level PCs and one 7th-level PC defeat a CR 9 vrock, the 9thlevel PCs each get 675 XP (2,700 ÷ 4), but the 7th-level PC gets (4,200
÷ 4) 1,050 XP.

The experience point system will diminish a three-level gap over
time, but it might not erase it. And a PC four or more levels behind
the rest of the party is a recipe for trouble. An encounter challenging to the rest of the party is overwhelming to the lowest-level character, increasing the likelihood that character will die—and thus
fall further behind. The player of the lowest-level character might
feel like his character can’t do anything useful, and the other players might resent having to keep the lowest-level character out of
harm’s way.
If a PC falls that far behind the rest of the party, take action to restore
a semblance of balance. You can discuss a new character with the
player, write a solo adventure for that character to earn the XP needed
to catch up, or design encounters that simultaneously provide challenges appropriate for the low-level player and the rest of the PCs.

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Illus. by A. Swekel

reating adventures is one of the great benefits of being a
Dungeon Master. It’s a way to express yourself creatively,
designing fantastic places and events filled with monsters
and imaginative elements of all kinds. When you design
an adventure, you call the shots. You do things exactly the
way you want to. Designing an adventure can be a lot of work, but
the rewards are great. Your players will thrill at the challenges and
mysteries you have created for them. Experienced DMs pride
themselves on masterful adventures, creative new situations and
locales, and intriguing NPCs. A well-honed encounter—whether
it’s a monster, a trap, or an NPC who must be reasoned with—can
be a thing of beauty.
“What is an adventure?” isn’t as easy a question to answer as you
might think. While a campaign is made up of adventures, it’s not
always clear where one adventure ends and another begins.
Adventures can be so varied that it’s tough to pin down the basics.
This chapter is going to try to help you do that.
An adventure starts with some sort of hook, whether it’s a
rumor of treasure in an old, abandoned monastery or a plea for
help from the queen. The hook is what draws the PCs into the
action and gets them to the point where the story of the adventure truly begins. This point might be a location (such as the monastery or the queen’s palace) or an event (the theft of the queen’s
scepter, which the PCs are tasked with recovering).
Adventures are broken down into encounters. Encounters are
typically keyed to areas on a map that you have prepared.
Encounters can also be designed in the form of if/then statements: “If the PCs wait outside the druid’s grove for more than an
hour, then his three trained dire bears attack.” The encounters of
an adventure are all linked in some way, whether in theme (all
the encounters that occur as they travel from the City of Grey-

hawk to the Crystalmist Mountains), location (all the
encounters in the ruins of Castle Temerity), or events (all
the encounters that occur as the PCs attempt to rescue the
mayor’s son from Rahurg the ogre king).

MOTIVATION

Motivation is what drives the adventure—it’s what gets
the PCs involved in whatever you have designed for them
to do. If the PCs aren’t motivated, they won’t do what you
want them to, and all your work will be wasted. Greed,
fear, revenge, need, morality, anger, and curiosity are all
powerful motivators. So, of course, is fun. Never forget
that last one.
Writing an adventure with strong motivation is
really a matter of knowing what style of game you and
your players prefer (see page 7 for a discussion of different playing styles).

TAILORED OR STATUS QUO
Tailored motivations are ones that you have specifically designed with your group’s PCs in mind. Here
are just a few of many possible examples.
• The PCs are a hardened group of mercenaries, not
interested in the pleas of innocents or the stories
of evil that threatens some good kingdom.
However, they are quite interested in gold. . . .
• Mialee the wizard has been slain by the gargoyles in the
Caverns of Dread. Now the other PCs seek a means
to raise her. They know of a good-hearted cleric of
Pelor to the south, in the city of Dyvers. When

43

ADVENTURES

CHAPTER 3:

they arrive, the cleric is willing to raise Mialee, but only if the PCs
help him by ridding the temple’s lower level of wererats. . . .
• You know that the party has just finished clearing out a wizard’s
tower and has lots of treasure. Therefore, you don’t lure them to
the next adventure using the promise of gold, but instead with
the rumor that the wizard isn’t dead, but has risen as a vampire
and has sworn revenge. . . .
• Tordek’s brother Ralcoss comes to the PCs, explains that a
terrible tragedy has beset the dwarven city of Dumadan, and
asks for their help . . .
A status quo motivation isn’t really a motivation in the strict sense
of the word. It’s the fact that (for instance) adventure awaits in the
Lost Valley for anyone who dares brave the wyvern-haunted cliffs
that surround the place. The PCs can go there or not, depending
on how they feel.
While a tailored motivation is good for ensuring that the PCs end
up in the adventure you have designed and for letting the players
feel that their characters have a real place in the world, a status quo
motivation allows you to set up situations unrelated to the PCs
specifically. Doing this creates a sense of perspective, the feeling
that the campaign world is a real place that extends beyond the PCs.

STRUCTURE

An adventure runs its course from the beginning to an ending.
Some adventures are completed in an hour. Others take months of
playing sessions. Length is up to you, although it’s smart to plan
ahead and know roughly how many sessions an adventure will last
(and make sure that the current group of players can commit to
that length). Following are some guidelines to keep in mind for
structuring good adventures and avoiding bad ones.

GOOD STRUCTURE
Good adventures are fun. That’s an easy generalization, but it’s also
true. An adventure that everyone enjoys likely includes the following features.
Choices: A good adventure has at least a few points where the
players need to make important decisions. What they decide should
have significant impact on what happens next. A choice can be as
simple as the players deciding not to go down the corridor to the
left (where the pyrohydra waits for them) and instead going to the
right (toward the magic fountain), or as complex as the PCs deciding not to help the queen against the grand vizier (so that she ends
up being assassinated and the vizier’s puppet gains the throne).

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ONE HUNDRED ADVENTURE IDEAS
Use the following list for spur-of-the-moment adventure seeds or for
generating ideas.
d%
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17
18
19
20
21
22
23
24
25
26
27
28
29

44

Adventure Idea
Thieves steal the crown jewels.
A dragon flies into a town and demands tribute.
The tomb of an old wizard has been discovered.
Wealthy merchants are being killed in their homes.
The statue in the town square is found to be a petrified paladin.
A caravan of important goods is about to leave for a trip
through a dangerous area.
Cultists are kidnapping potential sacrifices.
Goblins riding spider eaters have been attacking the outskirts
of a town.
Local bandits have joined forces with a tribe of bugbears.
A blackguard is organizing monsters in an area.
A gate to the lower planes threatens to bring more demons to
the world.
Miners have accidentally released something awful that once
was buried deep.
A wizards’ guild challenges the ruling council.
Racial tensions rise between humans and elves.
A mysterious fog brings ghosts into town.
The holy symbol of a high priest is missing.
An evil wizard has developed a new kind of golem.
Someone in town is a werewolf.
Slavers continue to raid a local community.
A fire elemental escapes from a wizard’s lab.
Bugbears are demanding a toll on a well-traveled bridge.
A mirror of opposition has created an evil duplicate of a hero.
Two orc tribes wage a bloody war.
New construction reveals a previously unknown underground
tomb.
A nearby kingdom launches an invasion.
Two well-known heroes fight a duel.
An ancient sword must be recovered to defeat a ravaging
monster.
A prophecy foretells of coming doom unless an artifact is
recovered.
Ogres kidnap the mayor’s daughter.

30 A wizard is buried in a trap-filled tomb with her powerful magic
items.
31 An enchanter is compelling others to steal for him.
32 A shapechanged mind flayer is gathering mentally controlled
servitors.
33 A plague brought by wererats threatens a community.
34 The keys to disarming all the magic traps in a wizard’s tower
have gone missing.
35 Sahuagin are being driven out of the sea to attack coastal
villages.
36 Gravediggers discover a huge, ghoul-filled catacomb under the
cemetery.
37 A wizard needs a particularly rare spell component found only
in the deep jungle.
38 A map showing the location of an ancient magic forge is
discovered.
39 Various monsters have long preyed upon people from within
the sewers of a major city.
40 An emissary going into a hostile kingdom needs an escort.
41 Vampires are preying upon a small town.
42 A haunted tower is reputed to be filled with treasure.
43 Barbarians begin tearing up a village in a violent rage.
44 Giants steal cattle from local farmers.
45 Unexplained snowstorms bring winter wolves into an otherwise
peaceful area.
46 A lonely mountain pass is guarded by a powerful sphinx
denying all passage.
47 Evil mercenaries begin constructing a fortress not far from a
community.
48 An antidote to a magic poison must be found before the duke
dies.
49 A druid needs help defending her grove against goblins.
50 An ancient curse is turning innocent people into evil murderers.
51 Gargoyles are killing giant eagles in the mountains.
52 Mysterious merchants sell faulty magic items in town and then
attempt to slink away.
53 A recently recovered artifact causes arcane spellcasters’ powers
to go awry.
54 An evil noble puts a price on a good noble’s head.
55 Adventurers exploring a dungeon have not returned in a week.
continued on next page

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sionally include undead that she can use her turning ability on. If
the party has a ranger or a druid, include encounters with animals
(dire animals can make challenging encounters for even mid- to
high-level PCs; see the Monster Manual for more information). The
advice to remember is “Everyone gets a chance to shine.” All abilities available to PCs were designed to make the characters better,
but an ability (or a spell) that a character never gets to use is a waste.

BAD STRUCTURE
ADVENTURES

Try to avoid the pitfalls described below.
Leading the PCs by the Nose: A bad event-based adventure is
marked by mandates restricting PC actions or is based on events
that occur no matter what the PCs do. For example, a plot that
hinges on the PCs finding a mysterious heirloom, only to have it
stolen by NPCs, is dangerous—if the players invent a good way to
protect the heirloom, they won’t like having it stolen anyway just
because that’s what you had planned beforehand. The players end
up feeling powerless and frustrated. No matter what, all adventures should depend upon player choices, and players should feel
as though what they choose to do matters. The results should
affect the campaign setting (albeit perhaps in minor ways), and
they should have consequences (good or bad) for the PCs.

CHAPTER 3:

Difficult Choices: When a choice has a significant consequence, it
should sometimes be a difficult one to make. Should the PCs help
the church of Heironeous wage war on the goblins, even though
the conflict will almost certainly keep them from reaching the
Fortress of Nast before the evil duke summons the slaadi assassins?
Should the PCs trust the words of a dragon, or ignore her warning?
Different Sorts of Encounters: A good adventure should provide a number of different experiences—attack, defense, problem-solving, roleplaying, and investigation. Make sure you vary
the kinds of encounters the adventure provides (see Encounters,
page 48).
Exciting Events: Like a well-told story, a good adventure
should have rising and falling tension. This sort of pacing is easier
to accomplish with an event-based adventure (since you have
more control over when each encounter takes place), but it’s possible in a site-based adventure to design a locale where the
encounters are likely to occur in a desired fashion. Make sure to
pace events appropriately. Start slowly and have the action build. A
climactic encounter always makes for a good ending.
Encounters that Make Use of PC Abilities: If the party’s
wizard or sorcerer can cast fly, think about incorporating aerial
encounters into the adventure. When there’s a cleric along, occa-

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continued from previous page
56 The funeral for a good fighter is disrupted by enemies he made
while alive.
57 Colossal vermin are straying out of the desert to attack
settlements.
58 An evil tyrant outlaws nonofficially sanctioned magic use.
59 A huge dire wolf, apparently immune to magic, is organizing
the wolves in the wood.
60 A community of gnomes builds a flying ship.
61 An island at the center of the lake is actually the top of a
strange, submerged fortress.
62 Buried below the Tree of the World lies the Master Clock of
Time.
63 A child wanders into a vast necropolis, and dusk approaches
quickly.
64 All the dwarves in an underground city have disappeared.
65 A strange green smoke billows out of a cave near a mysterious
ruin.
66 Mysterious groaning sounds come from a haunted wood at
night.
67 Thieves steal a great treasure and flee into Mordenkainen’s
magnificent mansion.
68 A sorcerer attempts to travel ethereally but disappears
completely in the process.
69 A paladin’s quest for atonement leads her to a troll lair too well
defended for her to tackle alone.
70 A kingdom known for its wizards prepares for war.
71 The high priest is an illusion.
72 A new noble seeks to clear a patch of wilderness of all
monsters.
73 A bulette is tearing apart viable farmland.
74 An infestation of stirges drives yuan-ti closer to civilized lands.
75 Treants in the woods are threatened by a huge fire of
mysterious origin.
76 Clerics who have resurrected a long-dead hero discover she’s
not what they thought.
77 A sorrowful bard tells a tale of his imprisoned companions.
78 Evil nobles create an adventurers’ guild to monitor and control
adventurers.
79 A halfling caravan must traverse an ankheg-infested wilderness.

80 All the doors in the king’s castle are suddenly arcane locked and
fire trapped.
81 An innocent man, about to be hanged, pleads for someone to
help him.
82 The tomb of a powerful wizard, filled with magic items, has
sunk into the swamp.
83 Someone is sabotaging wagons and carts to come apart when
they travel at high speed.
84 A certain kind of frogs, found only in an isolated valley, fall like
rain on a major city.
85 A jealous rival threatens to stop a well-attended wedding.
86 A woman who mysteriously vanished years ago is seen walking
on the surface of a lake.
87 An earthquake uncovers a previously unknown dungeon.
88 A wronged half-elf needs a champion to fight for her in a
gladiatorial trial.
89 At the eye of the storm that tears across the land lies a floating
citadel.
90 People grow suspicious of half-orc merchants peddling gold
dragon parts in the market.
91 An absentminded wizard lets her rod of wonder fall into the
wrong hands.
92 Undead shadows vex a large library, especially an old storeroom
long left undisturbed.
93 The door into an abandoned house in the middle of town turns
out to be a magic portal.
94 Barge pirates make a deal with a covey of hags and exact a high
toll to use the river.
95 Two parts of a magic item are in the hands of bitter enemies;
the third piece is lost.
96 A flight of wyverns is preying upon sheep as well as shepherds.
97 Evil clerics gather in secret to summon a monstrous god to the
world.
98 A city faces a siege by a force of humans, duergar, and gnolls.
99 A huge gemstone supposedly lies within a ruined monastery.
100 Lizardfolk riding dragon turtles sell their services as
mercenaries to the highest bidder.

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45

ADVENTURES

CHAPTER 3:

PCs as Spectators: In this kind of bad adventure, NPCs
accomplish all the important tasks. There might be an interesting
story going on, but it’s going on around the PCs, and they have
very little to do with it. As much as you might like one of your
NPCs, resist the urge to have him or her accomplish everything
instead of letting the PCs do the work. As great as it might be to
have your big NPC hero fight the evil wizard (also an NPC)
threatening the land, it’s not much fun for the players if all they
get to do is watch.
Deus ex Machina: Similar to the “PCs as spectators” problem is
the potential pitfall of the deus ex machina, a term used to describe
the ending to a story in which the action is resolved by the intervention of some outside agency rather than by the characters’ own
actions. Don’t put the PCs in situations in which they can only survive through the intervention of others. Sometimes it’s interesting
to be rescued, but using this sort of “escape hatch” gets frustrating
for the players quickly. Players would rather defeat a young dragon
on their own than face an ancient wyrm and only defeat it because
a high-level NPC teleports in to help them.
Preempting the Characters’ Abilities: It’s good to know the
PCs’ capabilities, but you shouldn’t design adventures that continually countermand or foil what they can do. If the wizard just
learned fireball, don’t continually throw fire-resistant foes at him.
Don’t create dungeons where fly and teleport spells don’t work, just
because it’s more difficult to design challenging encounters for
characters with those capabilities. Use the PCs’ abilities to allow
them to have more interesting encounters—don’t arbitrarily rule
that their powers suddenly don’t work.

THE FLOW OF INFORMATION
Much of the structure of an adventure depends on what the PCs
know and when they learn it. If they know that there’s a dragon at
the bottom of the dungeon, they will conserve their strength for
that encounter and have proper spells and strategies prepared.
When they learn the identity of a traitor, they will probably act on
this information immediately. If they learn too late that their actions will cause a cavern complex to collapse, they won’t be able to
keep it from happening.
Don’t give away the whole plot in one go, but do give the players some new bit of knowledge every so often. For example, if the
drow elves are the secret masters behind an uprising of giants,
slowly reveal clues to that fact. Information gained while fighting
the hill giants leads the PCs to the frost giants, which in turn garners them clues that take them to the fire giants. Only among the

fire giants do the PCs encounter information that leads them to
understand that the drow are involved. And thus the final encounter with those drow masters is made all the more dramatic.
In some situations, the PCs know everything they need to
know before the adventure begins. That’s okay. Occasionally, there
is no mystery. For example, the adventurers learn that a haunted
tower in the woods is inhabited by a vampire and her minions.
They go in with stakes and holy water, slay a bunch of undead, and
finally meet up with the vampire and take her out. That’s a fine
adventure. Sometimes, however, a surprise that the PCs never
could have seen coming makes it all the more interesting—the
vampire turns out to be a good-aligned undead resisting her bloodlust but slowly succumbing to the temptation of an erinyes devil
who lives under the church back in town. Both the “no surprises”
and the “unexpected twist” structures work well, so long as you
avoid overusing either.

Divination Magic
Keep divination magic in mind when predetermining how
you’re going to control the flow of information. Don’t deny the
spells their potency. Instead, learn what they can and cannot do,
and plan for the PCs to use them. (See Handling Divinations,
page 34). After all, if you have assumed that they would cast the
proper spells and they don’t use what’s available to them, they
deserve to fail.

SITE-BASED ADVENTURES

The Tomb of Horrors, the Temple of Elemental Evil, the Ghost
Tower of Inverness—these are places of legend, mystery, and adventure. If you create an adventure based around some place—a
dungeon, a ruin, a mountain, a valley, a cave complex, a wilderness,
a town—then you have created a site-based adventure. Site-based
adventures revolve around a map with a key, detailing important
spots on that map. Encounters in the adventure are triggered
when the PCs enter a new location at the site. The implication is
that each encounter describes what occurs at that site when the
PCs arrive (or arrive for the first time).
Creating a site-based adventure involves two steps: drawing a
map and keying the encounters.
Draw a Map: Graph paper is useful for mapping out dungeons,
because you can assign a scale for the squares, such as 5 feet or 10
feet per square. The printed gridlines also aid in drawing straight
lines (particularly useful when you’re mapping the interior of a

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ADVENTURE WRITER’S CHECKLIST

46

If you want to write an adventure but aren’t sure where to start, just
work your way down the checklist below. Each entry corresponds to a
section found later in this chapter.
• Brainstorm one or more motivations for the adventure, keeping in
mind the style of play you prefer. Why will the PCs put their lives at risk?
• Decide whether you want a site-based adventure, an event-based
adventure, or an adventure that incorporates both.
• If it’s a site-based adventure, imagine where the adventure will take
place. You don’t need to know every detail yet, just a broad sense of
what the place is like.
• If it’s an event-based adventure, imagine the starting scene, a likely
climax scene, and a few “set piece” intermediate scenes you think
would be fun.
• Choose the most important antagonists for the PCs. If allies,
patrons, or other NPCs are important, think about them too.
• Begin assembling your adventure. If it’s a site-based adventure,
sketch out the site and decide where your important NPCs spend
most of their time. If it’s an event-based adventure, identify the most

likely sequences of events that take the PCs from the beginning
scene to the climax, hitting one or more of the important intermediate scenes along the way.
• Fill in the details. Create the areas and scenes that aren’t integral to
the adventure but may be fun or challenging nonetheless. Draw the
maps you’ll need, build the NPCs, and create any random encounters you want for the adventure.
• Check your work. Examine what you’ve done, but think like your players. Is there a clever way to bypass many of the adventure’s challenges? Think of ways to reward cleverness without rendering the
adventure obsolete.
Now that you’ve worked your way down the checklist, here’s a secret:
You don’t have to do the items in order. You can just as easily start by
saying, “I want to write an adventure with mind flayer assassins as the
main villains,” starting with the antagonists and making the other
choices later. You might design a site first, then figure out how to entice
the characters inside. But it’s always a good idea to start with motivation, because it’s the energy that gets your adventure off the ground.

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Sometimes a site-based adventure takes place at a static location.
The map depicts an old ruin filled with monsters, shows where
the ancient treasures are located within the ruin, where the traps
or danger spots are located, and so on. The PCs can arrive at this
location at any time, stay as long as they desire, leave whenever
they want, and come back later to find the site pretty much the
same as they left it (although more monsters may have taken up
residence, or a few may have wandered off; maybe a trap has been
triggered by a monster and no longer threatens the PCs, or a trap
the PCs previously triggered has been reset).
Designing a static site-based adventure is fairly easy. You don’t
have to think much about how the residents of the various en-

ADVENTURES

STATIC OR DYNAMIC

counter areas interact, and each encounter area need only be designed with the most immediate implications in mind—namely,
what happens when the PCs arrive?
By contrast, a good example of a dynamic site is a drow fortresstemple. A dynamic site usually involves some sort of intelligent
organization. As the PCs move around the site, they discover that
actions in certain areas affect encounters in other areas. For
example, if the PCs kill two of the drow priestesses in the fortresstemple but allow a third one to escape, the fortress-temple mobilizes its populace—now, defenders are moving around from location to location and are much more likely to attack any unknown
intruders rather than ask questions. Perhaps the two dead priestesses rise from the dead as vampires and start creating vampire
spawn as bodyguards.
Designing a dynamic site is more complicated than designing a
static one. In addition to creating a map and a key—both of which
might be updated significantly as the adventure develops—you
must address the following issues as well.
• Formulate defensive plans for the inhabitants. “If attacked, the
guards use the gong to raise the alarm. The sound of the gong
can be heard in areas A, B, and D. The inhabitants in those areas
hastily don hide armor (5 rounds) and overturn tables to give
themselves cover. The sorcerer in area B casts mass invisibility on
himself and the barbarian.”
• Develop conditional requirements for various areas. “If anyone
disturbs the three unholy gems upon the altar, the Infernal
Gates in area 5 open, allowing access to the City of Dis but also
calling 3d4 barbazu devils, who live in the dungeon by day and
come out at night to raid the countryside in a 5-mile radius.”
• Determine the inhabitants’ long-term plans. “In a month’s time,
the goblins will have completed the wall in area 39. With that
defense to fall back on, they begin the assault on the kobold
caves in areas 32 through 37. If no one intervenes, the goblins
will clear out the kobolds in three weeks and the goblin adept
will gain the wand of lightning bolt stored in the secret vault in
area 35.”

CHAPTER 3:

building or a dungeon). Mark important areas with numbers or
letters that reference the map key. Make notes on the map describing anything of importance, including room contents (statues,
pools, furniture, pillars, steps, pits, curtains, and so on). Plan out
which areas are linked by similar or allied inhabitants. Place traps,
taking care to note particularly the location of trap triggers. Consider spell ranges—if an NPC wizard is in a particular area and you
know that she might cast a particular spell, save yourself time
during the playing of the adventure by noting now how far the
spell effect can extend.
As you map out the site, think about how you’ll depict each area
at the gaming table. It’s a bad idea, for example, to design a site
with many areas that are larger than the grid you place your miniatures on. If it’s likely that characters will travel back and forth
between two adjacent rooms, make each of the rooms small
enough to fit both of them on the tabletop grid at the same time.
Remember that the player characters are catalysts for change.
While you play, note changes caused by the PCs’ presence—possibly even writing them directly on the map. That way it’s easier to
remember, on the second time they pass through an area, which
doors they have knocked down, which traps they have triggered,
which treasures they have looted, which guardians they have
defeated, and so forth.
Create a Key: A map key is a set of notes (as detailed or brief as
you need them to be) detailing each area’s contents, NPCs
(description, statistics, possible actions), and whatever else makes
the place special. For example, on an outdoor map you might mark
an area that triggers a landslide if crossed, a bridge over the river
guarded by lizardfolk, and the lair of a basilisk—complete with
details about the interior of the lair and the treasure formerly in
the possession of the half-eaten, petrified victims in the back.
Each entry should include the game information needed to run
that encounter. If an area has nothing to write about, don’t bother
marking it on the key.
Most dungeon adventures are site-based. See The Dungeon,
page 57, as well as the sample dungeon adventure that begins on
page 78.
A site-based adventure allows the PCs to drive the action. If
they come to a fork in the path, they’re free to choose whichever
way they want. It doesn’t matter which path they choose, or if they
never go down one path at all. The characters can leave the location and come back, often resuming the adventure exactly where
they left off (although some aspects of the site may have changed,
depending on how static the site is; see below).
A site-based adventure is easy to run once you’ve made all the
preparations. All the information is right there in front of you, on
the map and in the key. Between the two of them, you should be
able to handle any sort of action the PCs may take during the
adventure.
Site-based adventures often lure PCs based simply on the reputation of the site, but sometimes an event triggers a site-based
adventure, drawing the PCs to the location. Once they are at the
site, your map and its key come into play.

EVENT-BASED ADVENTURES

The death of the king. The Rain of Colorless Fire. The carnival’s
arrival in town. Unexplained disappearances. Merchants of Druus
looking for caravan guards. Events can lead to adventures, drawing
the PCs in and getting them involved in amazing predicaments.
When you create an an event-based adventure, you structure it
in the form of “Something happens, and if the PCs do this, then
that happens. . . .” An event-based adventure is built around a series
of events influenced by the PCs’ actions. The PCs’ reactions
change the events that occur, or the order in which they occur, or
both.
In an event-based adventure, the PCs usually have a goal or a
mission beyond “Kill all the monsters” or “Get as much treasure as
possible” or even “Explore this area.” The adventure instead
focuses on the adventurers trying to accomplish something specific. The encounters in the adventure occur as an offshoot of that
effort—either as a consequence of their actions, or as opposing
forces attempting to stop them, or both.
This kind of adventure is often described as story-based,
because it’s more like a book or a movie and less like exploration of
a passive site. An event-based adventure usually doesn’t use a
room-by-room key of a location but instead consists of notes on
which events occur when. Two of the best ways to organize these
notes are in the form of a flowchart or a timeline.
Flowchart: By drawing connected boxes or circles with event
descriptions in them, it’s easy to visually track the flow of events:
“As the PCs investigate the murder, they question the innkeeper.
She tells them that she saw someone suspicious hanging around
the back of the livery last night. If they ask specifically about Greg-

47

ADVENTURES

CHAPTER 3:

ory, she tells them where he lives.” In this example, the flowchart
has two lines drawn away from the innkeeper. One goes to the
livery and the other goes to Gregory’s house, since those are the
two likely paths the PCs will take next.
Timeline: Another way to organize an event-based adventure is
by the passage of time. A timeline starts when the PCs get involved
in the story (or sometimes even before then). It marks what happens when: “One day after the PCs arrive in town, Joham comes to
them pleading for help. The next day, Joham is found dead in his
room at the inn. That evening, Gregory comes to the inn, poking
around for information to see if the body has been found.”
Combination: An event-based adventure might use both a
flowchart and a timeline that are closely integrated: “If the PCs ask
the innkeeper about Gregory on the day after the murder, she tells
them where he lives. The following morning, Gregory shows up at
the inn, heavily disguised, and convinces the innkeeper that he is
being framed for the murder. She agrees to hide him. If the PCs
ask the innkeeper about Gregory after this occurs, she gives them
the location of his house—but she also tells the PCs (untruthfully) that Gregory has been away from town on a trip for the last
several days.”
Random Encounters: Even in an adventure driven by events,
an encounter unrelated to the flow of events can serve to emphasize (or distract from) the ongoing plot. See Table 3–28: Urban
Encounters, page 102, for an example of an event-based random
encounter table.

THE END (?)

Eventually, each adventure comes to an end. A climactic
encounter places a nice capstone on an adventure, particularly if
it’s one that the players have seen coming. (If the ogres they have
been fighting have been referring to a dragon, then an encounter
with the dragon is a suitable ending.)
Many adventures require a denouement—some wrap-up to
deal with the aftermath of the final encounter. This can be the
time when the PCs discover what treasure is in the dragon’s hoard,
a dramatic scene in the king’s court in which he thanks the adventurers for slaying the dragon and passes out knighthoods all
around, or a time to mourn those comrades who did not survive
the battle. Generally, the denouement should not take nearly as
long as the climax itself.
As with movies and books, adventures sometimes deserve sequels. Many adventures lead directly into new adventures for the
PCs, relating to what they have accomplished or discovered. If the
characters just destroyed the fortress of the evil overlord, they may
find clues within the fortress that betray the identity of a traitor on
the town council who has been secretly aiding the warlord. Perhaps the overlord’s orc minions fled the site—where did they go?
(Orcs, no matter where they go, are sure to cause trouble!) Suppose
bandits attacked the adventurers while they were on their way to
the overlord’s fortress—going back now and finding the bandits’
lair is an adventure of both justice and vengeance.

ENCOUNTERS

As interesting as it is to talk about adventures (and the stories behind them), the game is really composed of encounters. Each individual encounter is like its own game—with a beginning, a middle,
an end, and victory conditions to determine a winner and a loser.

TAILORED OR STATUS QUO

48

Just as with motivations, encounters can be tailored specifically to
the PCs or not. A tailored encounter is one in which you take into
consideration that the wizard PC has a wand of invisibility and the
fighter’s AC is 23. In a tailored encounter, you design things to fit
the PCs and the players. In fact, you can specifically design some-

thing for each PC to do—the skeletal minotaur is a challenge for
the barbarian, another skeleton with a crossbow is on a ledge that
only the rogue can reach, only the monk can leap across the chasm
to pull the lever to raise the portcullis in front of the treasure, and
the cleric’s hide from undead spell allows her to get to the treasure
the skeletons are guarding while the battle rages.
A status quo encounter forces the PCs to adapt to the encounter
rather than the other way around. Bugbears live on Clover Hill,
and if the PCs go there, they encounter bugbears, whether bugbears are an appropriate encounter for them or not. This kind of
encounter gives the world a certain verisimilitude, and so it’s good
to mix a few in with the other sorts of encounters.
If you decide to use only status quo encounters, you should
probably let your players know about this. Some of the encounters
you place in your adventure setting will be an appropriate challenge for the PCs, but others might not be. For instance, you could
decide where the dragon’s lair is long before the characters are experienced enough to survive a fight against the dragon. If players
know that the setting includes status quo encounters that their
characters might not be able to handle, they will be more likely to
make the right decision if they come upon a tough encounter.
That decision, of course, is to run away and fight again another day
(when the party is better equipped to meet the challenge).

CHALLENGE RATINGS AND
ENCOUNTER LEVELS
A monster’s Challenge Rating (CR) tells you the level of the party
for which that monster is a good challenge. A monster of CR 5 is
an appropriate challenge for a group of four 5th-level characters. If
the characters are of higher level than the monster, they get fewer
XP because the monster should be easier to defeat. Likewise, if the
characters are of lower level than a monster’s Challenge Rating,
the PCs get a greater award.
Parties with five or more members can often take on monsters
with higher CRs, and parties of three or fewer are challenged by
monsters with lower CRs. The game rules account for these facts
by dividing the XP earned by the number of characters in the
party (see Rewards, page 36).

Multiple Monsters and Encounter Levels
Obviously, if one monster has a given Challenge Rating, more
than one monster represents a greater challenge than that. You
can use Table 3–1: Encounter Numbers to determine the
Encounter Level of a group of monsters, as well as to determine
how many monsters equate to a given Encounter Level (useful in
balancing an encounter with a PC party).
To balance an encounter with a party, determine the party’s
level (the average of all the members’ character levels). You want
the party’s level to match the level of the encounter, so find that
number in the “Encounter Level” column. Then look across that
line to find the CR of the kind of creature that you want to use in
the encounter. Once you have found it, look at the top of that
column to find the number of creatures that makes a balanced
encounter for the party.
For example, suppose you want to send ogres against a 6th-level
party. The Monster Manual entry on ogres shows that they are CR 2.
Looking at the “6” row in the “Encounter Level” column, you read
across to the “2” entry and then check the top of that column to
find that four CR 2 monsters make a good 6th-level encounter. To
determine the Encounter Level of a group of monsters, reverse
these steps (begin with the number of creatures, read down to find
the CR for the creature, then look left to find the appropriate EL).
In general, if a creature’s Challenge Rating is two lower than a
given Encounter Level, then two creatures of that kind equal an
encounter of that Encounter Level. Thus, a pair of frost giants (CR
9 each) is an EL 11 encounter. The progression holds of doubling
the number of creatures for each drop of two places in their indi-

Encounter —————— Number of Creatures —————— Mixed
Level
1
2
3
4
5–6
7–9 10–12
Pair
1
1, 2
1/2
1/3
1/4
1/6
1/8
1/8 1/2+1/3
2
2, 3
1
1/2, 1 1/2
1/3
1/4
1/6
1+1/2
3
3, 4
1, 2
1
1/2, 1 1/2
1/3
1/4
2+1
4
3, 4, 5
2
1, 2
1
1/2, 1 1/2
1/3
3+1
5
4, 5, 6
3
2
1, 2
1
1/2
1/2
4+2
6
5, 6, 7
4
3
2
1, 2
1
1/2
5+3
7
6, 7, 8
5
4
3
2
1
1/2
6+4
8
7, 8, 9
6
5
4
3
2
1
7+5
9
8, 9, 10
7
6
5
4
3
2
8+6
10
9, 10, 11
8
7
6
5
4
3
9+7
11 10, 11, 12
9
8
7
6
5
4
10+8
12 11, 12, 13 10
9
8
7
6
5
11+9
13 12, 13, 14 11
10
9
8
7
6
12+10
14 13, 14, 15 12
11
10
9
8
7
13+11
15 14, 15, 16 13
12
11
10
9
8
14+12
16 15, 16, 17 14
13
12
11
10
9
15+13
17 16, 17, 18 15
14
13
12
11
10
16+14
18 17, 18, 19 16
15
14
13
12
11
17+15
19 18, 19, 20 17
16
15
14
13
12
18+16
20
19+
18
17
16
15
14
13
19+17

What’s Challenging?
So, what counts as a “challenge”? Since a game session probably
includes many encounters, you don’t want to make every
encounter one that taxes the PCs to their limits. They would have
to stop the adventure and rest for an extensive period after every
fight, and that slows down the game. An encounter with an
Encounter Level (EL) equal to the PCs’ level is one that should
expend about 20% of their resources—hit points, spells, magic
item uses, and so on. This means, on average, that after about four

Single Monster Encounters
Many adventures reach their climax when the party encounters
the mastermind behind the plot, or when they track a big monster, such as a dragon or beholder, to its lair. Unfortunately,
encounters with single monsters can be very “swingy.” If the party
takes the time to use the Gather Information skill and divination
spells, they may begin the encounter immune to the monster’s
most powerful weapons. If the party wins initiative, they can gang
up on the monster and severely weaken it before it can act.
When planning adventures, consider some or all of the following points to make single monster encounters more enjoyable.
• If your monster uses spells or magic items, prepare additional
statistics blocks that show the impact of ability enhancers and
other defensive spells and effects. Depending on how much
warning the monster has of the party’s approach, it may have all
sorts of additional defenses. Remember, though, that readying
an action is a combat action, and the monster shouldn’t do this
until combat begins (no fair readying a fireball before anyone
checks for surprise or rolls for initiative).
• Prepare your monster’s tactics in advance, including what it
does if it loses the initiative roll. It may flee, or it may simply
choose a different order for its spells and attacks.
• Distract or split up the party. If the entire party can gang up on
a single opponent, the encounter can end very quickly (especially if the party wins initiative).
• Put the party in situations where they must burn resources in
order to move forward. For example, a very hot environment
might do damage every round, forcing the party to use spells
such as endure elements, or to use most of the cleric’s spells to
heal up after passing through the hot area.
• Go on the aggressive. Let the single monster attack the party
before the party has a chance to use all its ability enhancers and
defensive effects.
• Fool the party. Use lookalikes and decoys to convince the party
that a major encounter is starting, so they use lots of high-level
spells and powerful items before encountering your single
monster.

ADVENTURES

Table 3–1: Encounter Numbers

encounters of the party’s level the PCs need to rest, heal, and
regain spells. A fifth encounter would probably wipe them out.
The party should be able to take on many more encounters
lower than their level but fewer encounters with ELs higher than
their level. As a general rule, if the EL is two lower than the party’s
level, the PCs should be able to take on twice as many encounters
before having to stop and rest. Two levels lower than that, and the
number of encounters they can cope with doubles again, and so
on. By contrast, an encounter of even one or two levels higher
than the party level might tax the PCs to their limit, although with
luck they might be able to take on two such encounters before
needing to recover. Remember that when the EL is higher than
the party level, the chance for PC fatality rises dramatically.

CHAPTER 3:

vidual CR, so that four CR 7 creatures (say, four hill giants) are an
EL 11 encounter, as are eight CR 5 creatures (such as shadow mastiffs). This calculation does not work, however, with creatures
whose CR is 1 or lower, so be sure to use Table 3–1: Encounter
Numbers for such encounters.
Mixed Pair: When dealing with a creature whose Challenge
Rating is only one lower than the intended EL, you can raise the
EL by one by adding a second creature whose CR is three less than
the desired EL. For example, a DM wants to set up an encounter
with an aboleth (CR 7) for an 8th-level party. Two aboleths would
be EL 9, and she wants an encounter of EL 8, so she decides to give
the aboleth a companion or pet to raise the encounter to EL 8.
Checking Table 3–1: Encounter Numbers, she finds that the entry
for 8th-level encounters in the “Mixed Pair” column is “7+5.” This
means that a CR 7 monster and a CR 5 monster together are an EL
8 encounter.
In general, you can treat a group of creatures as a single creature
whose CR equals the group’s EL. For example, instead of having
the PCs encounter one CR 4 creature (say, a brown bear), you
could substitute two CR 2 creatures (a pair of black bears), whose
EL together is 4. However, creatures whose CR is far below the
party’s level often provide no challenge at all, so don’t substitute
hordes of low-CR creatures for a single high-CR creature.
Some monsters’ CRs are fractions. For instance, a single orc (CR
1/2) is not a good challenge even for a 1st-level party. This means
that you should either calculate XP as if the orc were CR 1, then
divide by 2, or treat each pair of orcs encountered as a CR 1 monster.
Encounters with more than a dozen creatures are difficult to
judge. If you need thirteen or more creatures to provide enough
XP for a standard encounter, then those individual monsters are
probably so weak that they don’t make for a good encounter. That’s
why Table 3–1 doesn’t have an entry larger than twelve for
“Number of Creatures.”

DIFFICULTY
Sometimes, the PCs encounter something that’s a pushover for
them. At other times, an encounter is too difficult, and they have
to run away. A well-constructed adventure has a variety of encounters at several different levels of difficulty. Table 3–2: Encounter
Difficulty shows (in percentage terms) how many encounters of a
certain difficulty an adventure should have.

Table 3–2: Encounter Difficulty
% of Total
10%
20%
50%
15%
5%

Encounter
Easy
Easy if handled properly
Challenging
Very difficult
Overpowering

Description
EL lower than party level
Special (see below)
EL equals that of party
EL 1–4 higher than party level
EL 5+ higher than party level

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CHAPTER 3:

Easy: The PCs win handily with little threat to themselves. The
Encounter Level for the encounter is lower than the party level.
The group should be able to handle an almost limitless number of
these encounters.
Easy if Handled Properly: There’s a trick to this kind of encounter—a trick the PCs must discover to have a good chance of victory. Find and eliminate the evil cleric with greater invisibility first
so she stops bolstering the undead, and everything else about the
encounter becomes much easier. If not handled properly, this
kind of encounter becomes challenging or even very difficult.
Challenging: Most encounters seriously threaten at least one
member of the group in some way. These are challenging encounters, about equal in Encounter Level to the party level. The average
adventuring group should be able to handle four challenging encounters before they run low on spells, hit points, and other resources. If an encounter doesn’t cost the PCs some significant portion of their resources, it’s not challenging.
Very Difficult: One PC might very well die. The Encounter Level
is higher than the party level. This sort of encounter may be more
dangerous than an overpowering one, because it’s not immediately obvious to the players that the PCs should flee.
Overpowering: The PCs should run. If they don’t, they will
almost certainly lose. The Encounter Level is five or more levels
higher than the party level.

Difficulty Factors
You have several options for making an encounter more or less difficult by changing the circumstances of the encounter to account
for some feature of the PCs’ surroundings or the makeup of the
party. For instance:
• Tight quarters make things more difficult for rogues, since it’s
harder to skulk about and gain a sneak attack.
• A spread-out force makes things more difficult for spellcasters,
since the area affected by most spells is small.
• Many lesser foes are harder for a character to engage in melee
than one powerful foe.
• Undead are much more difficult to fight without a cleric.
• Encounters involving animals or plants are much more difficult
without a druid or a ranger in the party.
• Encounters involving evil outsiders are much more difficult
without a paladin or cleric (and perhaps a wizard or sorcerer) in
the party.
• A large force is much more difficult to fight without a wizard or
sorcerer in the party.
• Locked doors and traps are much more difficult to overcome
without a rogue in the party.
• Multiple combat encounters are more difficult to win without a
fighter, a barbarian, a ranger, or a paladin in the party.
• Multiple combat encounters are more difficult to survive without a cleric in the party.
• The bard and the cleric make good group support characters.
Their presence makes practically every encounter easier.
None of the above factors should necessarily be taken into
account when assigning or modifying Challenge Ratings, but you
should keep them in mind when designing encounters.

TOUGHER MONSTERS

50

A really big basilisk with more hit points and a higher attack
bonus than a normal basilisk is a greater challenge. If you use the
rules found in the Monster Manual for increasing the Hit Dice of
monsters, you should also increase the experience point (XP)
award for the monster appropriately. See Advanced Monster Challenge Rating, page 293 of the Monster Manual.
If a monster has levels in PC or NPC classes, see Monsters and
Class Levels, page 290 of the Monster Manual, for how to determine
its CR.

LOCATION
A fight between characters perched on a bridge made of skulls
over a pool of bubbling lava is more exciting and more dangerous
than that same fight in a nice, safe dungeon room. Location serves
two purposes, both equally important. It can make a humdrum encounter more interesting, and it can make an encounter easier or
much more difficult.

Making Things Interesting
Arguably, the dungeon itself is a fairly exotic locale, but eventually
the same old 30-foot-by-30-foot room starts to grow stale. Likewise, a trip through the dark woods can be interesting and frightening, but the tenth trip through is less so. Since this is a fantasy
game, allow yourself the freedom to consider all sorts of strange
locations for encounters. Imagine an encounter inside a volcano,
along a narrow ledge on the side of a cliff, atop a flying whale, or
deep underwater. Think of the exciting location first, and then
worry about how and why the PCs would get there.
Situations within a location can have as much impact as the
location itself. If a rogue has to pick the lock on the only door out
of the top room of a tower that’s collapsing, it’s suddenly a much
more exciting situation than just another locked door in a dungeon corridor. Create an encounter in which the PCs must be
diplomatic while all around them a battle rages. Fill an underground cave complex with water for a different sort of dungeon
adventure. Set a series of encounters in a large wooden fort—that
happens to be on fire.
See the Interesting Combats section, page 17, for a short discussion that deals with this same issue.

Modifying Difficulty
Orcs with crossbows, behind cover, firing down at the PCs while
the characters cross a narrow ledge over a pit full of spikes are
much more dangerous than the same orcs being engaged in handto-hand combat in some tunnel. Likewise, if the PCs find themselves on a balcony, looking down at oblivious orcs who are carrying barrels of flammable oil, the encounter is likely to be much
easier than if the orcs were aware of the PCs.
Consider the sorts of factors, related to location or situation,
that make an encounter more difficult, such as the following.
• Enemy has cover (for example, behind a low wall).
• Enemy is at higher elevation or is hard to get at (on a ledge or
atop a defensible wall).
• Enemy has guaranteed surprise (PCs are asleep).
• Conditions make it difficult to see or hear (mist, darkness,
rumbling machinery all around).
• Conditions make movement difficult (underwater, heavy gravity, very narrow passage).
• Conditions require delicate maneuvering (climbing down a
sheer cliff, hanging from the ceiling).
• Conditions deal damage (in the icy cold, in a burning building,
over a pit of acid).
Conversely, the first three conditions given above make
encounters easier from the PCs’ point of view if they are the ones
benefiting from the cover, elevation, or surprise.

REWARDS AND BEHAVIOR
Encounters, either individually or strung together, reward certain
types of behavior whether you are conscious of it or not. Encounters that can or must be won by killing the opponents reward
aggression and fighting prowess. If you set up your encounters
like this, expect wizards and priests to soon go into every adventure with only combat spells prepared. The PCs will learn to use
tactics to find the best way to kill the enemy quickly. By contrast,
encounters that can be won by diplomacy encourage the PCs to
talk to everyone and everything they meet. Encounters that
reward subterfuge and prowling encourage sneakiness. Encoun-

MONSTERS WITH TREASURE
The standard way to acquire treasure is to defeat enemies that possess it, guard it, or happen to be near it. In the Monster Manual, every monster has a treasure rating (indicating how much treasure it
has, although for some creatures the rating is “None”). The tables
found in this section enable you to determine the specifics. After
referencing the level and kind of treasure (coins, goods, items)
found in the creature’s description, roll on the appropriate row and
columns of the proper table.
When generating an encounter dealing with monsters away
from their lair (a patrol, a wandering creature, and so on), remember that a creature only takes what it can easily carry with it. In the
case of a creature such as a displacer beast, that generally means
nothing. The monster safeguards or hides its treasure as well as it
can, but it leaves it behind when outside the lair.
Example: Gnolls that live in a dungeon often leave their lair to
wage war on nearby orc brigands to steal treasure and food. The
PCs encounter and defeat the gnolls while the bestial
humanoids are on their way to raid the orcs. Each gnoll has a
smattering of coins or gems on its person. The leader has the

Monsters with Classes
Many monsters advance by adding class levels (see the Monster
Manual). To determine treasure for monsters with class levels, first
give them equipment. Use Table 4–23: NPC Gear Value (page 127)
and use just their class levels to determine the value of their equipment. Then generate their treasure according to their monster
entry and the rules under Building a Treasure, below. This may
generate more items that the monster can use, and that’s fine (see
Custom Treasures, below).

Treasure per Encounter
Table 3–5: Treasure has been created so that if PCs face enough
encounters of their own level to gain a level, they will have also
gained enough treasure to keep them apace with the wealth-bylevel information found in Table 5–1: Character Wealth by Level
(page 135). Just as gaining a level requires between thirteen and
fourteen encounters of a party’s level, so too fourteen average rolls
on the table at the party’s level will get them the treasure they
need to gain the appropriate amount for the next highest level,
assuming that the PCs expend some resources such as potions and
scrolls during those encounters.

ADVENTURES

TREASURE

What adventure would be complete without treasure?
A close second in importance to experience points, treasure
provides an important motivator for PCs to go on adventures. As
with experience points, treasure empowers the PCs. The more
they get, the more powerful they become.

masterwork greatsword from the group’s hoard and uses it in the
battle. The majority of the gnolls’ treasure, however, remains in
their lair, guarded by a few gnolls left behind and two well-concealed pit traps.

CHAPTER 3:

ters that reward boldness speed up the game, while those that
reward caution slow it down.
Always be aware of the sorts of actions you’re rewarding your
players for taking. Reward, in this case, doesn’t just mean experience points and treasure. More generally, it means anything
that consistently leads to success. An adventure should contain
encounters that reward different types of behavior. Not everyone prefers the same kind of encounter, and even those with a
favorite enjoy a change of pace. Remember, then, that you can
offer many different kinds of encounters, including all of the
following.
Combat: Combat encounters can be divided into two groups:
attack and defense. Typically, the PCs are on the attack, invading
monsters’ lairs and exploring dungeons. A defense encounter, in
which the PCs must keep an area, an object, or a person safe from
the enemy, can be a nice change of pace.
Negotiation: Although threats can often be involved, a negotiation encounter involves less swordplay and more wordplay. Convincing NPCs to do what the PCs want them to is challenging for
both players and DM—quick thinking and good roleplaying are
the keys here. Don’t be afraid to play an NPC appropriately (stupid
or intelligent, generous or selfish), as long as it fits. But don’t make
an NPC so predictable that the PCs can always tell exactly what he
or she will do in any given circumstance. Consistent, yes; onedimensional, no.
Environmental: Weather, earthquakes, landslides, fastmoving rivers, and fires are just some of the environmental conditions that can challenge even mid- to high-level PCs.
Problem-Solving: Mysteries, puzzles, riddles, or anything that
requires the players to use logic and reason to try to overcome the
challenge counts as a problem-solving encounter.
Judgment Calls: “Do we help the prisoner here in the dungeon, even though it might be a trap?” Rather than depending
on logic, these encounters usually involve inclination and gut
instinct.
Investigation: This is a long-term sort of encounter involving
some negotiation and some problem-solving. An investigation
may be called for to solve a mystery or to learn something new.

Table 3–3: Treasure Values per Encounter
Encounter
Level
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10

Treasure
per Encounter
300 gp
600 gp
900 gp
1,200 gp
1,600 gp
2,000 gp
2,600 gp
3,400 gp
4,500 gp
5,800 gp

Encounter
Level
11
12
13
14
15
16
17
18
19
20

Treasure
per Encounter
7,500 gp
9,800 gp
13,000 gp
17,000 gp
22,000 gp
28,000 gp
36,000 gp
47,000 gp
61,000 gp
80,000 gp

On average, the PCs should earn one treasure suitable to their
level for each encounter they overcome. The key, of course, is
“average.” Some monsters might have less treasure than average,
some might have more, and some might have none at all. As you
write an adventure, it’s okay to combine the individual treasures
listed for each monster into one larger hoard. If a dungeon is
home to a beholder and numerous bugbears, for example, you can
take some or all of the bugbear treasure and add it to the
beholder’s hoard.
Monitor the progress of treasure into the hands of the PCs. For
instance, you may want to use lots of high-treasure or low-treasure
monsters, yet still hand out a normal amount of treasure overall.
The PCs needn’t have average treasure at every stage in their
careers, but if an imbalance (either high or low) persists for more
than a few levels, you should take gradual action to correct it by
awarding slightly more or slightly less treasure.

Table 3–4: Average Treasure Results
Type
Gem
Art object
Mundane item
Minor magic item
Medium magic item
Major magic item

Average Result
275 gp
1,100 gp
350 gp
1,000 gp
10,000 gp
40,000 gp

51

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CHAPTER 3:

Table 3–5: Treasure

52

Level
1st

d%
01–14
15–29
30–52
53–95
96–100

–— Coins –—
—
1d6×1,000 cp
1d8×100 sp
2d8×10 gp
1d4×10 pp

d%
01–90
91–95
96–100

Goods
—
1 gem
1 art

d%
01–71
72–95
96–100

Items
—
1 mundane
1 minor

2nd

01–13
14–23
24–43
44–95
96–100

—
1d10×1,000 cp
2d10×100 sp
4d10×10 gp
2d8×10 pp

01–81
82–95
96–100

—
1d3 gems
1d3 art

01–49
50–85
86–100

—
1 mundane
1 minor

3rd

01–11
12–21
22–41
42–95
96–100

—
2d10×1,000 cp
4d8×100 sp
1d4×100 gp
1d10×10 pp

01–77
78–95
96–100

—
1d3 gems
1d3 art

01–49
50–79
80–100

—
1d3 mundane
1 minor

4th

01–11
12–21
22–41
42–95
96–100

—
3d10×1,000 cp
4d12×1,000 sp
1d6×100 gp
1d8×10 pp

01–70
71–95
96–100

—
1d4 gems
1d3 art

01–42
43–62
63–100

—
1d4 mundane
1 minor

5th

01–10
11–19
20–38
39–95
96–100

—
1d4×10,000 cp
1d6×1,000 sp
1d8×100 gp
1d10×10 pp

01–60
61–95
96–100

—
1d4 gems
1d4 art

01–57
58–67
68–100

—
1d4 mundane
1d3 minor

6th

01–10
11–18
19–37
38–95
96–100

—
1d6×10,000 cp
1d8×1,000 sp
1d10×100 gp
1d12×10 pp

01–56
57–92
93–100

—
1d4 gems
1d4 art

01–54
55–59
60–99
100

—
1d4 mundane
1d3 minor
1 medium

7th

01–11
12–18
19–35
36–93
94–100

—
1d10×10,000 cp
1d12×1,000 sp
2d6×100 gp
3d4×10 pp

01–48
49–88
89–100

—
1d4 gems
1d4 art

01–51
52–97
98–100

—
1d3 minor
1 medium

8th

01–10
11–15
16–29
30–87
88–100

—
1d12×10,000 cp
2d6×1,000 sp
2d8×100 gp
3d6×10 pp

01–45
46–85
86–100

—
1d6 gems
1d4 art

01–48
49–96
97–100

—
1d4 minor
1 medium

9th

01–10
11–15
16–29
30–85
86–100

—
2d6×10,000 cp
2d8×1,000 sp
5d4×100 gp
2d12×10 pp

01–40
41–80
81–100

—
1d8 gems
1d4 art

01–43
44–91
92–100

—
1d4 minor
1 medium

10th

01–10
11–24
25–79
80–100

—
2d10×1,000 sp
6d4×100 gp
5d6×10 pp

01–35
36–79
80–100

—
1d8 gems
1d6 art

01–40
41–88
89–99
100

—
1d4 minor
1 medium
1 major

11th

01–08
09–14
15–75
76–100

—
3d10×1,000 sp
4d8×100 gp
4d10×10 pp

01–24
25–74
75–100

—
1d10 gems
1d6 art

01–31
32–84
85–98
99–100

—
1d4 minor
1 medium
1 major

Table 3–5: Treasure (cont.)
–— Coins –—
—
3d12×1,000 sp
1d4×1,000 gp
1d4×100 pp

d%
01–17
18–70
71–100

Goods
—
1d10 gems
1d8 art

d%
01–27
28–82
83–97
98–100

Items
—
1d6 minor
1 medium
1 major

13th

01–08
09–75
76–100

—
1d4×1,000 gp
1d10×100 pp

01–11
12–66
67–100

—
1d12 gems
1d10 art

01–19
20–73
74–95
96–100

—
1d6 minor
1 medium
1 major

14th

01–08
09–75
76–100

—
1d6×1,000 gp
1d12×100 pp

01–11
12–66
67–100

—
2d8 gems
2d6 art

01–19
20–58
59–92
93–100

—
1d6 minor
1 medium
1 major

15th

01–03
04–74
75–100

—
1d8×1,000 gp
3d4×100 pp

01–09
10–65
66–100

—
2d10 gems
2d8 art

01–11
12–46
47–90
91–100

—
1d10 minor
1 medium
1 major

16th

01–03
04–74
75–100

—
1d12×1,000 gp
3d4×100 pp

01–07
08–64
65–100

—
4d6 gems
2d10 art

01–40
41–46
47–90
91–100

—
1d10 minor
1d3 medium
1 major

17th

01–03
04–68
69–100

—
3d4×1,000 gp
2d10×100 pp

01–04
05–63
64–100

—
4d8 gems
3d8 art

01–33
34–83
84–100

—
1d3 medium
1 major

18th

01–02
03–65
66–100

—
3d6×1,000 gp
5d4×100 pp

01–04
05–54
55–100

—
3d12 gems
3d10 art

01–24
25–80
81–100

—
1d4 medium
1 major

19th

01–02
03–65
66–100

—
3d8×1,000 gp
3d10×100 pp

01–03
04–50
51–100

—
6d6 gems
6d6 art

01–04
05–70
71–100

—
1d4 medium
1 major

20th

01–02
03–65
66–100

—
4d8×1,000 gp
4d10×100 pp

01–02
03–38
39–100

—
4d10 gems
7d6 art

01–25
26–65
66–100

—
1d4 medium
1d3 major

ADVENTURES

d%
01–08
09–14
15–75
76–100

CHAPTER 3:

Level
12th

For treasures above 20th level, use the 20th-level row and then add a number of random major items.
Level
21st
22nd
23rd

Magic Items
+1
+2
+4

24th

+6

Level
25th
26th
27th

BUILDING A TREASURE
You can use any of several methods for determining what treasures to include in your encounters or adventures. All of them refer
to Table 3–5: Treasure. Instructions for using that table appear in
Using the Treasure Table, below.

Random Treasures
An easy approach is to determine treasure randomly using the
treasure information given in the Monster Manual for each kind of
creature. Some creatures have more than average treasure and
some less. If you use this system, the kind of creatures in an adventure determines how rich the treasures are. An adventure with lots
of intelligent creatures has higher than average treasure, and one
with mostly oozes, vermin, and dire animals has poor treasure.
Balance the treasure by balancing the kinds of creatures or simply
by adjusting the treasures toward the average.

Magic Items
+9
+12
+17

Level
28th
29th
30th

Magic Items
+23
+31
+42

If you want to include a balanced amount of treasure, you can just
roll on Table 3–5: Treasure for each encounter according to its
Encounter Level. If you want the treasures to make sense, roll for
them randomly but then assign them to the encounters based on
your best judgment. Double or triple up for some encounters, giving
them two or three rolled treasures, and leave some others without
treasure. In this way, you’re sure that the treasures are balanced to the
encounters overall, even if some encounters have lots of treasure and
others have none. For example, if your adventure has seven encounters of EL 5 each, just roll on the 5th-level row on Table 3–5: Treasure
seven times and assign the seven treasures among the encounters.
Slightly more complex, you can figure out the percent chance
to get each kind of treasure on Table 3–5: Treasure and roll once for
each line on the table. For instance, at 1st level, you have a 15%
chance to get copper coins, a 23% chance to get silver coins, a 43%
chance to get gold coins, a 5% chance to get platinum coins, a 5%

53

ADVENTURES

CHAPTER 3:

chance to get a gem, a 5% chance to get an art object, a 24% chance
to get a mundane item, and a 5% chance to get a minor item. This
means that some treasures will have several different kinds of
coins, or both a gem and an art object, and so forth.
You can use Table 3–5: Treasure first for gems, art objects, and
items. Total the value of the objects generated by the table, then
subtract that total from the appropriate level of treasure from Table
3–3: Treasure Values per Encounter. What remains is the value of
coins in the treasure. Choose coin types
and numbers to fill out the treasure.
You can also bypass Table 3–5: Treasure and base treasures on what their
overall value should be. For example,
since each 5th-level treasure is worth 1,600 gp
(on average), seven of
them should be
worth about
11,200 gp
(on average). You
can go right to
the other
tables (Table
3–6: Gems;
Table 3–7:
Art Objects; and so on) and roll on them instead. To balance
these rolls, you need to know the average value of each table; see
Table 3–4: Average Treasure Results. So, for a treasure worth about
11,200 gp, you could roll for a medium magic item (10,000 gp) and
an art object (1,100 gp) or roll for four minor items (1,000 gp each)
and five gems (275 gp each), giving the rest in coins of the appropriate value. Depending on your rolls, you can get a treasure worth
less than average or much more, but over the course of a campaign
you should get pretty close to average results overall.

Finally, you could avoid rolling altogether and choose treasures.
For treasures totaling 11,200 gp, you could just invent coins and
gems worth 5,000 to 6,000 gp, and choose magic items from Chapter 7: Magic Items to fill the rest of the total.

Wizards and Treasure
If you’re designing an encounter with a wizard, subtract the value
of a spellbook and material components (see Selling a Spellbook,
page 179 of the Player’s Handbook) from the average
treasure value before you start rolling up treasure. Alternatively, you can add the up the
value of all the components and the spellbook
and compare the total value to Table
3–3: Treasure Values per
Encounter. Find the
level that most
closely approaches that
total, and subtract it from the level of the
encounter. Use that new level to
generate the rest of the treasure.

Custom Treasures
You may wish to build a custom
treasure for the toughest monster,
the head of the conspiracy, the
leader of the mercenary army, or
other special encounter. The value of the
treasure should still be determined using
Table 3–3: Treasure Values per Encounter, but instead of rolling on
Table 3–5: Treasure, you choose the items in the treasure.
When you do so, spend no more than half the treasure value for
the encounter on items that might be used up during the encoun-

pqqqqrs
BEHIND THE CURTAIN: TREASURE VALUES
There’s a relationship between Table 5–1: Character Wealth Level,
Table 3–5: Treasure, and Table 3–2: Encounter Difficulty. Writing
adventures following the guidelines in this chapter, and using Table
3–2: Encounter Difficulty, should generate enough treasure using
Table 3–5: Treasure to keep characters abreast of the wealth figures
described in Table 5–1. In fact, such adventures should provide more
wealth, because characters expend some money on scrolls, potions,
ammunition, and food, all of which get used up in the course of
adventuring.
As you can see, rewards using these tables generate more wealth
than indicated. We assume characters use up that additional money
on expenses such as being raised from the dead, potions, scrolls,
ammunition, food, and so forth.
Your job is to compare the wealth gained from the encounters in
your adventure with the expected wealth gain shown on the table
above. If your adventure has more treasure, reduce it. If your adventure has less treasure, plant enough treasure not related to encounters to match the value (see Other Treasure, below).
Your job is also to make sure that wealth gets evenly distributed.
The third column in the table above shows that each character
should get an equal share of the treasure from an adventure. If a
single item, such as a magic staff, makes up most of the treasure,
then most of the party earns nothing for their hard work. While you
can make it up to them in later adventures, it is best to use the
methods described in this chapter to ensure an even distribution of
wealth.

54

Wealth Comparisons
Party
Expected
Treasure from
Treasure per
Level
Wealth Gain
Encounters
Character
1st
900 gp
3,999 gp
1,000 gp
2nd
1,800 gp
7,998 gp
2,000 gp
3rd
2,700 gp
11,997 gp
2,999 gp
4th
3,600 gp
15,996 gp
3,999 gp
5th
4,000 gp
21,328 gp
5,332 gp
6th
6,000 gp
26,660 gp
6,665 gp
7th
8,000 gp
34,658 gp
8,665 gp
8th
9,000 gp
45,322 gp
11,331 gp
9th
13,000 gp
59,985 gp
14,996 gp
10th
17,000 gp
77,314 gp
19,329 gp
11th
22,000 gp
99,975 gp
24,994 gp
12th
22,000 gp
130,634 gp
32,659 gp
13th
40,000 gp
173,290 gp
43,323 gp
14th
50,000 gp
226,610 gp
56,653 gp
15th
60,000 gp
293,260 gp
73,315 gp
16th
80,000 gp
373,240 gp
93,310 gp
17th
100,000 gp
479,880 gp
119,970 gp
18th
140,000 gp
626,510 gp
156,628 gp
19th
180,000 gp
813,130 gp
203,283 gp
Expected Wealth Gain: This is what Table 5–1 indicates a character
should gain while reaching his next level.
Treasure from Encounters: This is the average treasure value from Table
3–3: Treasure Values per Encounter multiplied by 13.33 encounters.
Treasure per Character: This is Treasure from Encounters divided by
four, the expected party size. The amounts are rounded to the
nearest gold piece.

pqqqqrs

ter. If all the items in the encounter’s treasure are expendable,
such as potions and scrolls, you don’t want to spend the entire treasure value on them. If you did, the characters might find nothing
but empty potion bottles and scroll tubes after defeating the
encounter.

Table 3–6: Gems
d%
Value
01–25 4d4 gp

NPCs with Treasure

At times you’re going to want to generate a treasure on the fly
that’s not directly related to a monster. You might, for example,
have created a devious dungeon full of traps and puzzles with no
monsters at all, and now you have to generate the “grand treasure”
that the traps were protecting. You can still use the table. First find
the average party level, then use the table in the Treasure Values
sidebar (page 54) to figure out the wealth the PCs should gain in
the course of the adventure. Subtract the total value of all the other
treasure in the adventure. What’s left is the value of the grand treasure. You can generate the contents randomly by finding the average treasure value on Table 3–3: Treasure Values per Encounter
that most closely matches it. That tells you the level of the grand
treasure, and you can use that to roll on Table 3–5: Treasure for
coins, goods, and items.

Using the Treasure Table
Cross-reference the level of the treasure on the left with the type
of treasure. The level of the treasure is equal to the CR of the
monsters in the encounter. A standard treasure (one that
includes coins, goods, and items) requires three rolls, one for
each category.

TYPES OF TREASURE
Treasure comes in many forms: piles of coins, pouches of gems,
useful adventuring equipment, and magic items.
Coins: The most basic type of treasure is money. Table 3–5:
Treasure generates anything from common copper pieces to rare
platinum pieces. When placing a hoard of coins, remember the
volume and weight of large numbers of coins is considerable (50
coins weigh 1 pound, so 10,000 coins weigh 200 pounds).
Gems: PCs love gems because they’re small, lightweight, and
easily concealed compared with the same value in coins. Gem
treasures are more interesting when you describe them and provide names. “A lustrous golden pearl” is more interesting than “a
100 gp gem.”
Art: Idols of solid gold, necklaces dripping with gems, old
paintings of ancient kings, a bejeweled golden flagon—this category includes all these and more. Portability is a major concern
here. A jeweled comb is easy to carry, but a life-sized bronze statue
of a knight is not. In general, most treasure you place in encounters should be easy for the PCs to carry (weighing 10 pounds or
less). Treasure that’s impossible to take out of the dungeon isn’t
really treasure.
Mundane Items: While nonmagical, these items are worthwhile as treasure because they are useful or valuable or both. Many
of these treasures are used by intelligent opponents rather than
just stored away as coins or gems are.

51–70 4d4×10 gp

71–90 2d4×100 gp

91–99 4d4×100 gp

100

2d4×1,000 gp

ADVENTURES

Other Treasure

26–50 2d4×10 gp

Examples
Banded, eye, or moss agate;
azurite; blue quartz; hematite;
lapis lazuli; malachite; obsidian;
rhodochrosite; tiger eye turquoise;
freshwater (irregular) pearl
50 gp
Bloodstone; carnelian;
chalcedony; chrysoprase; citrine;
iolite, jasper; moonstone; onyx;
peridot; rock crystal (clear quartz);
sard; sardonyx; rose, smoky, or
star rose quartz; zircon
100 gp
Amber; amethyst; chrysoberyl;
coral; red or brown-green garnet;
jade; jet; white, golden, pink, or
silver pearl; red spinel, red-brown
or deep green spinel; tourmaline
500 gp
Alexandrite; aquamarine; violet
garnet; black pearl; deep blue
spinel; golden yellow topaz
1,000 gp Emerald; white, black, or fire opal;
blue sapphire; fiery yellow or rich
purple corundum; blue or black
star sapphire; star ruby
5,000 gp Clearest bright green emerald;
blue-white, canary, pink, brown, or
blue diamond; jacinth

CHAPTER 3:

The gear that NPCs carry serves as the bulk of their treasure. The
average value of an NPC’s gear is listed on Table 4–23: NPC Gear
Value, and examples of what specific gear a character of a given
class and level would have are in the sample NPC descriptions in
Chapter 4. NPCs may have treasure in addition to their gear, at
your discretion, but an NPC’s gear is already worth about three
times the average value of a treasure of his or her level. Defeating
NPC foes brings about great reward for treasure-seekers, but since
the gear is mostly magic that the NPC can use against the characters (some of which is one-use), it all evens out.

Average
10 gp

Table 3–7: Art Objects
d%
Value
01–10 1d10×10 gp

Average
55 gp

11–25 3d6×10 gp

105 gp

26–40 1d6×100 gp

350 gp

41–50 1d10×100 gp

550 gp

51–60 2d6×100 gp

700 gp

61–70 3d6×100 gp

1,050 gp

71–80 4d6×100 gp

1,400 gp

81–85 5d6×100 gp

1,750 gp

86–90 1d4×1,000 gp

2,500 gp

91–95 1d6×1,000 gp

3,500 gp

96–99 2d4×1,000 gp

5,000 gp

100

7,000 gp

2d6×1,000 gp

Examples
Silver ewer; carved bone or ivory
statuette; finely wrought small
gold bracelet
Cloth of gold vestments; black
velvet mask with numerous
citrines; silver chalice with lapis
lazuli gems
Large well-done wool tapestry;
brass mug with jade inlays
Silver comb with moonstones;
silver-plated steel longsword with
jet jewel in hilt
Carved harp of exotic wood with
ivory inlay and zircon gems; solid
gold idol (10 lb.)
Gold dragon comb with red garnet
eye; gold and topaz bottle stopper
cork; ceremonial electrum dagger
with a star ruby in the pommel
Eyepatch with mock eye of
sapphire and moonstone; fire opal
pendant on a fine gold chain; old
masterpiece painting
Embroidered silk and velvet
mantle with numerous
moonstones; sapphire pendant on
gold chain
Embroidered and bejeweled glove;
jeweled anklet; gold music box
Golden circlet with four
aquamarines; a string of small
pink pearls (necklace)
Jeweled gold crown; jeweled
electrum ring
Gold and ruby ring; gold cup set
with emeralds

55

ADVENTURES

CHAPTER 3:

Table 3–8: Mundane Items
d%
Mundane Item
01–17
Alchemical item
01–12
Alchemist’s fire (1d4 flasks, 20 gp each)
13–24
Acid (2d4 flasks, 10 gp each)
25–36
Smokesticks (1d4 sticks, 20 gp each)
37–48
Holy water (1d4 flasks, 25 gp each)
49–62
Antitoxin (1d4 doses, 50 gp each)
63–74
Everburning torch
75–88
Tanglefoot bags (1d4 bags, 50 gp each)
89–100 Thunderstones (1d4 stones, 30 gp each)
18–50
Armor (roll d%: 01–10 = Small, 11–100 = Medium)
01–12
Chain shirt (100 gp)
13–18
Masterwork studded leather (175 gp)
19–26
Breastplate (200 gp)
27–34
Banded mail (250 gp)
35–54
Half-plate (600 gp)
55–80
Full plate (1,500 gp)
81–90
Darkwood
01–50
Buckler (205 gp)
51–100 Shield (257 gp)
91–100 Masterwork shield
01–17
Buckler (165 gp)
18–40
Light wooden shield (153 gp)
41–60
Light steel shield (159 gp)
61–83
Heavy wooden shield (157 gp)
84–100 Heavy steel shield (170 gp)
51–83
Weapons
01–50
Masterwork common melee weapon (roll on Table 7–11:
Common Melee Weapons)
51–70
Masterwork uncommon weapon (roll on Table 7–12:
Uncommon Weapons)
71–100 Masterwork common ranged weapon (roll on Table
7–13: Common Ranged Weapons)
84–100
Tools and gear
01–03
Backpack, empty (2 gp)
04–06
Crowbar (2 gp)
07–11
Lantern, bullseye (12 gp)
12–16
Lock, simple (20 gp)
17–21
Lock, average (40 gp)
22–28
Lock, good (80 gp)
29–35
Lock, superior (150 gp)
36–40
Manacles, masterwork (50 gp)
41–43
Mirror, small steel (10 gp)
44–46
Rope, silk (50 ft.) (10 gp)
47–53
Spyglass (1,000 gp)
54–58
Artisan’s tools, masterwork (55 gp)
59–63
Climber’s kit (80 gp)
64–68
Disguise kit (50 gp)
69–73
Healer’s kit (50 gp)
74–77
Holy symbol, silver (25 gp)
78–81
Hourglass (25 gp)
82–88
Magnifying glass (100 gp)
89–95
Musical instrument, masterwork (100 gp)
96–100 Thieves’ tools, masterwork (50 gp)

Minor, Medium, and Major Magic Items: Refer to the
appropriate column on Table 7–1: Random Magic Item Generation and use it to generate the specified number of magic items.

OTHER REWARDS

56

With great deeds and increasing reputation come the gratitude and admiration of those around you. Heroes are often
awarded grants of land (which aid in the building of strongholds), decreees of friendship from communities they have
rescued, and even honorary titles of nobility. As PCs gain
levels and complete adventure after adventure, their notoriety

(good or bad) spreads throughout the land so that NPCs may
recognize them on sight.
Once PCs establish a reputation, it becomes easier for them to
attract like-minded allies and admiring followers. Cohorts arrive
who wish to share in their adventures, as do apprentices eager to
be trained by such legendary figures. Villains begin to consider
the PCs’ possible actions when concocting their evil schemes. The
player characters have left their mark and made a place for themselves in the campaign world with their grand exploits.
Introducing rewards such as noble titles, land grants, and a
widely known reputation is a matter of knowing what motivates
your players. These less tangible rewards only work if your players
perceive them as valuable. Experience points are always valuable,
and even exotic treasure types can usually be sold for cash, but being
known as a Knight of the Red Tower is only worth something if
your players regard it as valuable. Perhaps its value lies in access to
noble patrons who wouldn’t previously give the characters the time
of day. Maybe there’s a hierarchy of knightly orders that the characters are determined to climb. Or maybe players just like it when
NPC peasants bow and scrape in the presence of their characters.
Consider the example of a vacant stronghold given to a PC by a
grateful king. For one player, the grant of a small keep is a chance
to create a base of operations and leave her mark on the community. Another player might just ignore the keep, content to enjoy
an adventurers’ wandering lifestyle. And a third player might
bring the game to a halt, worried that the keep will be destroyed if
he leaves on another adventurer. Before you introduce other
rewards, think carefully about how your players will react to them.
While less tangible rewards require a little more work than traditional treasure and experience awards, they can be powerful
motivators to players precisely because they can’t be reduced to gp
or XP. After all, we often say of a valuable thing that it’s “something
that money can’t buy.” You may be surprised at the lengths players
will go to acquire something they can’t buy, borrow, or steal any
other way.

BRINGING ADVENTURES
TOGETHER

Taking different adventures and tying them together makes a
campaign. While creating a campaign is discussed elsewhere
(see Chapter 5), below are some ideas for designing adventures
that fit together.

EPISODIC OR CONTINUING
Episodic adventures are those that stand alone, with no relation to
the one that came before or the one that follows. These adventures
are fun, stand-alone scenarios that can be inserted anytime they’re
needed or desired. They often provide interesting diversions from
a continuing campaign. For example, in the middle of a series of
adventures dealing with an evil prince, his minions, and the
plague he unleashes on the land, the PCs might have a short
episode dealing with recovering a lost lammasu cub.
A continuing adventure has links that connect its components, each of them an individual adventure. A link may take the
form of a recurring NPC or a group of related events. A sorcerer
who sends the PCs on three different adventures, all to recover
lost relics, forms the link that transforms those three missions
into a continuing adventure. Another example might be three
adventures dealing with defeating an evil monk, coping with his
evil cronies who come to avenge his death, and fending off the
evil bard who seeks the powerful magic gem the monk once
owned. Each part of a continuing adventure builds on something that has come before, with the ramifications of one series
of events causing another series of events and thus producing
another adventure.

Plot weaving is what a DM does when he or she runs multiple
adventures at the same time. For example: In one adventure, the
identity of a murderer leads the PCs into conflict with a powerful
assassins’ guild. In the second adventure, the PCs seek a magic
staff rumored to be in the hands of a troglodyte priest. Here’s one
way these adventures can be interwoven.
1. The PCs, in town seeking the magic staff, witness a murder.
When they look into it, they discover the culprit and track him
down. He fights to the death, and on his body they discover a mysterious tattoo.
2. They learn that the staff of healing they seek was stolen by
troglodytes years ago.
3. While they attempt to learn more about the troglodytes and
their lair, an assassin with the same mysterious tattoo attacks the PCs.
4. They head to the caves where the troglodytes live. They
encounter heavy resistance and withdraw.
5. Returning to town again, the PCs find themselves under surveillance and eventually attack from the guild.
6. They go back to the caves and obtain the staff.
7. They return to town and, after learning the location of the
assassins’ guild, confront the assassins directly.
Plot weaving can make your campaign seem less like a series of
adventures and more like . . . well, like real life. This intermingling
of adventures can be difficult to manage, however, and once you
begin to weave more than two or three plots together, players may
feel somewhat dissatisfied with the number of loose ends that
always seem to be left behind relating to one adventure while they
find their characters embroiled in another. Some players don’t
want plots to be interwoven. They prefer to stick with one goal if
possible and don’t start anything new until they feel they have
achieved closure on what is before them. In the above example,
the PCs might ignore the troglodytes and the staff until they have
decisively dealt with the assassins. Ultimately, a good DM runs the
adventures that players want to play by paying attention to the
way they want to play.

BETWEEN ADVENTURES

When an adventure comes to an end, you should always handle a
few tasks before proceeding to the next one.

AWARD EXPERIENCE POINTS
Even if you award experience points at the end of each game session, another XP award is called for at the end of the adventure—
which, presumably, is also the end of the current game session. At
the least, this will be an award commensurate with what the PCs
accomplished to successfully resolve the adventure. It may also
include story awards (see page 40). If a character earns enough XP
to attain a new level, work with that player (either before the game
session breaks up or before the next adventure begins) to modify
his or her character sheet properly.

Bring your notes on the PCs up to date, recording such accomplishments as new magic items gained, new levels earned, enemies they have angered, friends they have made, and anything
else that’s pertinent. The amount and detail of this information
will vary depending on whether the adventure just concluded was
episodic (featuring characters and challenges the PCs are not
likely to encounter again) or continuing (featuring characters and
challenges that may be recurring or may lead to other, related
characters and challenges).

UPDATE YOUR RECORDS
If you and your players just finished an episodic adventure, you
may not need to spend a lot of time on this task, since little if any
of what the PCs have just gone through will have any bearing on
the future events of the campaign.
If the PCs have just concluded a part of a continuing adventure,
your records need to be more thorough. Be sure your notes on
what happened in the adventure are accurate and sufficiently
complete. Record new NPCs encountered, significant monsters
defeated, secrets learned, magic discovered, and so forth.
In either case, make notes about opportunities for further adventures based on what has happened in the one just concluded.
Remember what the players seemed to like and dislike, so you can
tailor future adventures accordingly.

ADVENTURES

PLOT WEAVING

UPDATE PC INFORMATION

CHAPTER 3:

Most campaigns need a blend of episodic and continuing
adventures to be successful and fun. To get the best of both worlds,
it’s possible to string together a number of unrelated episodic
adventures with hints of a continuing plot in the background that
eventually comes to fruition. For example, as the PCs progress
from dungeon to dungeon and ruin to ruin, they hear rumors and
find clues that some subterranean race is preparing to launch a
strike against the surface world. Perhaps, as they delve into dungeons, they learn that some of the monsters they face work for the
masterminds, whom they eventually discover to be the mind flayers. Finally, the mind flayers make their move, and the PCs are
there to stop it. Thus, a series of unrelated adventures suddenly
feels like a coherent whole. This is the first step in refining the art
known as plot weaving.

THE DUNGEON

Dungeons are deep, dark pits filled with subterranean horrors and
lost, ancient treasures. Dungeons are labyrinths where evil villains
and carnivorous beasts hide from the light, waiting for a time to
strike out into the sunlit lands of good. Dungeons contain pits of
seething acid and magic traps that blast intruders with fire, as well
as dragons guarding their hoards and magic artifacts waiting to be
discovered.
In short, dungeons mean adventure.

THE DUNGEON AS ADVENTURE SETTING
The term “dungeon” is a loose one. A dungeon is usually underground, but an aboveground site can be a dungeon as well. Some
DMs apply the term to virtually any adventure site. For this discussion, a dungeon is an enclosed, defined space made up of
encounter areas connected in some fashion.
The most common form of dungeon is an underground complex built by intelligent creatures for some purpose. Physically,
such a place has rooms joined by corridors, stairs connecting it
with the surface, and doors and traps to keep out intruders. The
archetypal dungeon is abandoned, with creatures other than the
builders now occupying areas within it. Adventurers explore such
places with the hope of finding treasure either left behind by the
original inhabitants or in the hoards of such squatters.

TYPES OF DUNGEONS
The four basic dungeon types are defined by their current status.
Many dungeons are variations on these basic types or combinations of more than one of them. Sometimes old dungeons are used
again and again by different inhabitants for different purposes.
Ruined Structure: Once occupied, this place is now abandoned (completely or in part) by its original creator or creators,
and other creatures have wandered in. Many subterranean creatures look for abandoned underground constructions in which to
make their lairs. Any traps that might exist have probably been set
off, but wandering beasts might very well be common.
Areas within the ruined structure usually contain clues to their
original intended use. What is now the lair of a family of rust monsters might once have been an old barracks, the rotting remains of
the beds and other furnishings now arranged to make nests for the

57

ADVENTURES

CHAPTER 3:

creatures. An ancient throne room, adorned with the tatters of
once-beautiful tapestries, might be empty and quiet—the ancient
curse that struck down the queen still hanging in the air before
the verdigris-encrusted bronze throne.
A ruined structure dungeon is a place that cries out to be explored. Adventurers might hear tales of treasure still lingering in
the abandoned labyrinth, leading them to brave the dangers to uncover it. This is the simplest and most straightforward of the dungeon types, and it usually balances danger (the inhabitants) with
reward (the treasure). The creatures dwelling in a ruined structure
aren’t necessarily organized, so PCs can usually come and go as
they please, making it easy to start and stop an adventure.
Occupied Structure: This type of dungeon is still in use. Creatures (usually intelligent) live there, although they may not be the
dungeon’s creators. An occupied structure might be a home, a fortress, a temple, an active mine, a prison, or a headquarters. This
type of dungeon is less likely to have traps or wandering beasts,
and more likely to have organized guards—both on watch and on
patrol. Traps or wandering beasts that might be encountered are
usually under the control of the occupants. Occupied structures
have furnishings to suit the inhabitants, as well as decorations,
supplies, and the ability for occupants to move around (doors they
can open, hallways large enough for them to pass through, and so
on). The inhabitants might have a communication system, and
they almost certainly control an access to the outside.
Some dungeons are partially occupied and partially empty or
in ruins. In such cases, the occupants are typically not the original builders but instead a group of intelligent creatures that
have set up their base, lair, or fortification within an abandoned
dungeon.
Use an occupied structure dungeon for the lair of a goblin tribe,
a secret underground fortress, or an occupied castle. This is one of
the most challenging types of dungeons for adventurers to enter
and explore, if the occupants are hostile. The challenge comes
from the organized nature of the inhabitants. It’s always harder to
fight a foe on his own terms in an area he knows well and is prepared to defend.
Safe Storage: When people want to protect something, they
might bury it underground. Whether the item they want to protect is a fabulous treasure, a forbidden artifact, or the dead body of
an important figure, these valuable objects are placed within a
dungeon and surrounded by barriers, traps, and guardians.

The safe storage type of dungeon is the most likely to have traps
but the least likely to have wandering beasts. The crypt of an ancient lich may be filled with all manner of magic traps and guardians, but it’s unlikely that any subterranean monsters have moved
in and made a part of the dungeon their lair—the traps and guardians will have held them at bay. This type of dungeon normally is
built for function rather than appearance, but sometimes it has
ornamentation in the form of statuary or painted walls. This is particularly true of the tombs of important people.
Sometimes, however, a vault or a crypt is constructed in such a
way as to house living guardians. The problem with this strategy is
that something must be done to keep the creatures alive between
intrusion attempts. Magic is usually the best solution to provide
food and water for these creatures.
Even if there’s no way anything living can survive in a safe storage dungeon, certain monsters can still serve as guardians.
Builders of vaults or tombs often place undead creatures or constructs, both of which which have no need for sustenance or rest,
to guard their dungeons. Magic traps can attack intruders by summoning monsters into the dungeon. These guardians also need no
sustenance, since they appear only when they’re needed and disappear when their task is done.
Natural Cavern Complex: Underground caves provide homes
for all sorts of subterranean monsters. Created naturally and connected by a labyrinthine tunnel system, these caverns lack any
sort of pattern, order, or decoration. With no intelligent force
behind its construction, this type of dungeon is the least likely to
have traps or even doors.
Fungi of all sorts thrive in caves, sometimes growing in huge
forests of mushrooms and puffballs. Subterranean predators prowl
these forests, looking for those feeding upon the fungi. Some varieties of fungus give off a phosphorescent glow, providing a natural
cavern complex with its own limited light source. In other areas, a
daylight spell or similar magical effect can provide enough light
for green plants to grow.
Often, a natural cavern complex connects with another type
of dungeons, the caves having been discovered when the manufactured dungeon was delved. A cavern complex can connect
two otherwise unrelated dungeons, sometimes creating a
strange mixed environment. A natural cavern complex joined
with another dungeon often provides a route by which subterranean creatures find their way into a manufactured dungeon

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BEHIND THE CURTAIN: WHY DUNGEONS?

58

Dungeons facilitate game play. Being underground, they set apart the
“adventure” from the rest of the world in a clean way. The idea of walking down a corridor, opening a door, and entering an encounter—while
a gross oversimplification and generalization of what can happen in a
dungeon—facilitates the flow of the game by reducing things down to
easily grasped and digestible concepts.
You have an easy way to control the adventure in a dungeon without
leading the characters by the nose. In a dungeon, the parameters are
clearly defined for the PCs—they can’t walk through walls (not at first,
anyway) or go into rooms that aren’t there. Aside from those limits,
they can go wherever they like in whatever order they like. The limited
environment of the dungeon grants players a feeling of control over
their characters’ destiny.
A dungeon is really nothing but an adventure flowchart. The rooms
are encounters, and the corridors are connections between the
encounters, showing which encounters should (or could) follow
which other ones. You could design a dungeonlike flowchart for an
adventure that didn’t take place in a dungeon and accomplish the
same thing. One encounter leads to two more, which in turn lead to
others, some of which double back on previous encounters. The

dungeon becomes a model, in this way, for all adventures.
Academic analysis aside, dungeons are fun. Deep, dark underground places are mysterious and frightening. Dungeons have many
encounters crammed into one small space. Nothing is more exciting
than anticipating what’s on the other side of the next door. Dungeons
offer many kinds of challenges—combat, tactics, navigation, overcoming obstacles, traps, and more. They encourage players to pay close
attention to their environment, since everything in a dungeon is a
potential danger.
In the DUNGEONS & DRAGONS game, the classes, spells, magic items,
and many other facets of the game have been designed with
dungeons in mind. That’s not to say that the dungeon is the only
possible adventuring environment, but it is the default setting. Many
of the tasks that characters can do well, such as a rogue’s Open Lock
skill or an elf’s ability to notice secret doors, are centered around
dungeon adventuring.
When in doubt while creating the setting for an adventure, use a
dungeon. However, despite opportunities for exploration and the
combat-intensive nature of dungeons, don’t neglect to include chances
for PCs to interact with NPCs such as dwarf strike teams, other adventuring parties, or weird denizens that are happier to talk than to fight.

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and populate it. Rumors in some places speak of the Underdark, a
subterranean world that is one enormous natural cavern complex
running under the surface of entire continents.
Natural cavern complexes can be quite beautiful, with stalactites, stalagmites, flowstone, columns, and other limestone formations. However, from an adventuring point of view they have a serious shortcoming: less treasure. Since the dungeon was not created
for a specific purpose, there’s little chance of happening upon a secret room filled with gold left behind by the previous occupants.

CHAPTER 3:

Sometimes, masonry walls—stones piled on top of
each other (usually but not always held in place with
mortar)—divide dungeons into corridors and chambers.
Dungeon walls can also be hewn from solid rock, leaving
them with a rough, chiseled look. Or, dungeon walls can
be the smooth, unblemished stone of a naturally occurring cave. Dungeon walls are difficult to break down or
through, but they’re generally easy to climb.

Illus. by W. Reynolds

WALLS

ADVENTURES

DUNGEON TERRAIN

Practically all dungeons have walls, floors, doors, and other kinds
of common features. Adventurers quickly learn what the common
features of a dungeon are—and you can use this fact to your advantage. Common features create consistency (which helps suspend disbelief ) and allow you to create interesting surprises by
changing the features—sometimes only slightly. When the PCs
enter a dungeon, it’s often useful to establish some conventions so
that misunderstandings don’t crop up later.
Convention #1—Default Elements: Tell your players what the
floor is like, what the walls are
made of, and how high the ceilings
are. Say that you’ll let them know if
any of these default elements
change. That helps them imagine
the dungeon, and it keeps you from
having to repeat yourself. If most of
the doors or tombs in your dungeon
are identical, you can describe the first
one in detail and add, “Unless I say otherwise, they’re all like this one.”
Convention #2—On the Grid, Each
Square Has One Feature: When you
draw something such as a pool of shallow
water on your map grid, any square that’s
more than half covered by the pool is considered to have water in it, but squares that
just have water in a small fraction of their
area are considered dry. Using this convention means you don’t have to create
Masonry wall
straight-edged, unnatural-looking terrain features by forcing them to conform to a square grid that doesn’t exist
in the game world.
Convention #3—Establish Standard Procedures:
Once the characters fall into a predictable pattern when
confronted with some recurring kind of challenge such
as a closed door, it’s okay to assume that the characters
do that every time. For example, if the rogue always
searches a door for traps, then makes a Listen check to
hear what’s on the other side, then tries to pick the lock,
you can establish that as the standard procedure. This
convention saves time because you don’t have to wait for
players to declare their characters’ actions before calling
for the checks, and it helps the players because they won’t
accidentally overlook a step in their standard procedure.

Masonry Walls: The most common kind of dungeon wall,
masonry walls are usually at least 1 foot thick. Often these ancient
walls sport cracks and crevices, and sometimes dangerous slimes
or small monsters live in these areas and wait for prey. Masonry
walls stop all but the loudest noises. It takes a DC 20 Climb check
to travel along a masonry wall.
Superior Masonry Walls: Sometimes masonry walls are
better built (smoother, with tighter-fitting stones and less cracking), and occasionally these superior
walls are covered with plaster or
stucco. Covered walls often bear
paintings, carved reliefs, or other
decoration. Superior masonry walls
are no more difficult to destroy than
regular masonry walls but are more difficult to climb (DC 25).
Hewn Stone Walls: Such walls usually result when a chamber or passage is
tunneled out from solid rock. The rough
surface of a hewn wall frequently provides minuscule ledges where fungus
grows and fissures where vermin, bats,
and subterranean snakes live. When such
a wall has an “other side” (it separates two
chambers in the dungeon), the wall is usually at least 3 feet thick; anything thinner
risks collapsing from the weight of all the
stone overhead. It takes a DC 25 Climb
check to climb a hewn stone wall.
Unworked Stone Walls: These
surfaces are uneven and rarely flat.
They are smooth to the touch but
Hewn stone wall
filled with tiny holes, hidden alcoves, and ledges
at various heights. They’re also usually wet or at least damp, since
it’s water that most frequently creates natural caves. When such a
wall has an “other side,” the wall is usually at least 5 feet thick. It
takes a DC 15 Climb check to move along an unworked stone wall.
Special Walls: Sometimes you can place special walls in a dungeon. Expect players to react with curiosity and suspicion when
their characters encounter these unusual walls.
Reinforced Walls: These are masonry walls with iron bars on one
or both sides of the wall, or placed within the wall to strengthen it.
The hardness of a reinforced wall remains the same, but its hit
points are doubled and the Strength check DC to break through it
is increased by 10.
Iron Walls: These walls are placed within dungeons around important places such as vaults.
Paper Walls: Paper walls are the opposite of iron
walls, placed as screens to block line of sight but
nothing more.
Wooden Walls: Wooden walls often exist as recent
additions to older dungeons, used to create animal
pens, storage bins, or just to make a number of smaller
rooms out of a larger one.
Magically Treated Walls: These walls are stronger than
average, with a greater hardness, more hit points, and
Unworked a higher break DC. Magic can usually double the
stone hardness and hit points and can add up to 20 to the
wall break DC. A magically treated wall also gains a saving
throw against spells that could affect it, with the save
bonus equaling 2 + one-half the caster level of the magic
reinforcing the wall. Creating a magic wall requires the
Craft Wondrous Item feat and the expenditure of 1,500
gp for each 10 foot-by-10-foot wall section.
Walls with Arrow Slits: Walls with arrow slits can be
made of any durable material but are most commonly
masonry, hewn stone, or wood. Such a wall allows

59

the other is no more difficult than negotiating a stair step, but in
other places the floor might suddenly drop off or rise up several
feet or more, requiring Climb checks to get from one surface to
the other. Unless a path has been worn and well marked in the
floor of a natural cave, it takes 2 squares of movement to enter a
square with a natural stone floor, and the DC of Balance and
Tumble checks increases by 5. Running and charging are impossible, except along paths.
Special Floors: A number of strange floorings and floor features exist to make a dungeon more interesting.
Slippery: Water, ice, slime, or blood can make any of the dungeon floors described in this section more treacherous. Slippery
floors increase the DC of Balance and Tumble checks by 5.
Grate: A grate often covers a pit or an area lower than the main
floor. Grates are usually made from iron, but large ones can also be
made from iron-bound timbers. Many grates have hinges to allow
access to what lies below (such grates can be locked like any
defenders to fire arrows or crossbow bolts at intruders from
door), while others are permanent and designed not to
behind the safety of the wall. Archers behind arrow slits
move. A typical 1-inch-thick iron grate has 25 hit points,
have improved cover that gives them a +8 bonus to
hardness 10, and a DC of 27 for Strength checks to break
Armor Class, a +4 bonus on Reflex saves, and the
through it or tear it loose.
benefits of the improved evasion class feature.
Ledge: Ledges allow creatures to walk above some lower
area. They often circle around pits, run along underFloors
ground streams, form balconies around large rooms, or
As with walls, dungeon floors come in many
provide a place for archers to stand while firing upon
types.
enemies below. Narrow ledges (12 inches wide or less)
Flagstone: Like masonry walls, flagstone
require those moving along them to make Balance
floors are made of fitted stones. They are usually
checks (see the skill description on page 67 of the Player’s
cracked and only somewhat level. Slime and mold
Handbook for DCs). Failure results in the moving characgrows in these cracks. Sometimes water runs in
ter falling off the ledge.
rivulets between the stones or sits in stagnant pudLedges sometimes have railings. In such a case, chardles. Flagstone is the most common dungeon floor.
acters gain a +5 circumstance bonus on Balance checks
Uneven Flagstone: Over time, some floors can
to move along the ledge. A character who is next to a
become so uneven that a DC 10 Balance check is
railing gains a +2 circumstance bonus on his or her
required to run or charge across the surface. Failure
opposed Strength check to avoid being bull rushed off
means the character can’t move in this round.
the edge.
Floors as treacherous as this should be the excepLedges can also have low walls 2 to 3 feet high along
tion, not the rule.
their edges. Such walls provide cover against attackers
Hewn Stone Floors: Rough and uneven, hewn
floors are usually covered with loose stones,
Reinforced wall within 30 feet on the other side of the wall, as long as the
target is closer to the low wall than the attacker is.
gravel, dirt, or other debris. A DC 10 Balance check is required to
Transparent Floor: Transparent floors, made of reinforced glass
run or charge across such a floor. Failure means the character can
or magic materials (even a wall of force), allow a dangerous setting
still act, but can’t run or charge in this round.
to be viewed safely from above. Transparent floors are sometimes
Light Rubble: Small chunks of debris litter the ground. Light
placed over lava pools, arenas, monster dens, and torture chamrubble adds 2 to the DC of Balance and Tumble checks.
bers. They can be used by defenders to watch key areas for
Dense Rubble: The ground is covered with debris of all sizes. It
intruders.
costs 2 squares of movement to enter a square with dense rubble.
Sliding Floors: A sliding floor is a type of trapdoor, designed to
Dense rubble adds 5 to the DC of Balance and Tumble checks, and
be moved and thus reveal something that lies beneath it. A typical
it adds 2 to the DC of Move Silently checks.
sliding floor moves so slowly that anyone standing on one can
Smooth Stone Floors: Finished and sometimes even polished,
avoid falling into the gap it creates, assuming there’s somewhere
smooth floors are found only in dungeons with capable and careelse to go. If such a floor slides quickly enough that there’s a
ful builders. (They are a hallmark of dwarf-delved dungeons.)
chance of a character falling into whatever lies beneath—a spiked
Sometimes mosaics are set in the floor, some depicting interesting
pit, a vat of burning oil, or a pool filled with sharks—then it’s a
images and others just smooth marble.
trap (see page 67).
Natural Stone Floors: The floor of a natural cave is as uneven
Trap Floors: Some floors are designed to become suddenly
as the walls. Caves rarely have flat surfaces of any great size.
dangerous. With the application of just the right amount of
Rather, their floors have many levels. Some adjacent floor surfaces
weight, or the pull of a lever somewhere nearby, spikes protrude
might vary in elevation by only a foot, so that moving from one to
from the floor, gouts of steam or flame shoot up from hidden
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holes, or the entire floor tilts. These strange floors are sometimes
found in an arena, designed to make combats more exciting and
deadly. Construct these floors as you would any other trap.
WALLS, DOORS, AND DETECT SPELLS

ADVENTURES

CHAPTER 3:

Table 3–9: Walls

60

Typical
Break
Hit
Climb
Wall Type
Thickness DC Hardness Points1 DC
Masonry
1 ft.
35
8
90 hp
15
Superior masonry
1 ft.
35
8
90 hp
20
Reinforced masonry
1 ft.
45
8
180 hp
15
Hewn stone
3 ft.
50
8
540 hp
22
Unworked stone
5 ft.
65
8
900 hp
20
Iron
3 in.
30
10
90 hp
25
Paper
Paper-thin
1
—
1 hp
30
Wood
6 in.
20
5
60 hp
21
Magically treated2
—
+20
×2
×23
—
1 Per 10-foot-by-10-foot section.
2 These modifiers can be applied to any of the other wall types.
3 Or an additional 50 hit points, whichever is greater.

Stone walls, iron walls, and iron doors are usually thick enough to
block most detect spells, such as detect thoughts. Wooden walls,
wooden doors, and stone doors are usually not thick enough to do so.
However, a secret stone door built into a wall and as thick as the wall
itself (at least 1 foot) does block most detect spells.

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DOORS
Doors in dungeons are much more than mere entrances and
exits. Often they can be encounters all by themselves. After all,
anything that can trigger a nasty trap, offer you a clue, zap you
with a spell, or simply block your way deserves attention from the

ADVENTURES

CHAPTER 3:

dungeon explorer. The doorways that doors are set in may be Table 3–10: Doors
plain arches and lintels, or may be festooned with carvings—
Typical
Hit
Break DC
often gargoyles or leering faces but sometimes carved words that
Door Type
Thickness Hardness Points Stuck Locked
might reveal a clue to what lies beyond. Dungeon doors come in
Simple wooden
1 in.
5
10 hp
13
15
three basic types: wooden, stone, and iron.
Good wooden
1-1/2 in.
5
15 hp
16
18
Wooden Doors: Constructed of thick planks nailed together,
Strong wooden
2 in.
5
20 hp
23
25
sometimes bound with iron for strength (and to reduce swelling
Stone
4 in.
8
60 hp
28
28
from dungeon dampness), wooden doors are the most common
Iron
2 in.
10
60 hp
28
28
type. Wooden doors come in varying strengths: simple, good, and
Portcullis, wooden
3 in
5
30 hp
251
251
strong doors. Simple doors (break DC 13) are not meant to keep
Portcullis, iron
2 in.
10
60 hp
251
251
out motivated attackers. Good doors (break DC 16), while sturdy
Lock
—
15
30 hp
and long-lasting, are still not meant to take much punishment.
Hinge
—
10
30 hp
Strong doors (break DC 23) are bound in iron and are a sturdy
1 DC to lift. Use appropriate door figure for breaking.
barrier to those attempting to get past them.
in locks either control an iron bar that juts out of the door and into
Iron hinges fasten the door to its frame, and typically a circuthe wall of its frame, or else a sliding iron bar or heavy wooden bar
lar pull-ring in the center is there to help open it. Sometimes,
that rests behind the entire door. By contrast, padlocks are not
instead of a pull-ring, a door has an iron pull-bar on one or both
built-in but usually run through two rings, one on the door and
sides of the door to serve as a handle. In inhabited dungeons,
the other on the wall. More complex locks, such as combination
these doors are usually well maintained (not stuck) and
locks and puzzle locks, are usually built into the door itself.
unlocked, although important areas are locked up if possible.
Because such keyless locks are larger and more complex,
Stone: Carved from solid blocks of stone, these heavy,
they are typically only found in sturdy doors (strong
unwieldy doors are often built so that they pivot when
wooden, stone, or iron doors).
opened, although dwarves and other skilled craftsfolk
The Open Lock DC to pick a lock often falls into the
are able to fashion hinges strong enough to hold up a
range of 20 to 30, although locks with lower or higher
stone door. Secret doors concealed within a stone wall
DCs can exist. A door can have more than one lock,
are usually stone doors. Otherwise, such doors stand as
each of which must be unlocked separately. Locks are
tough barriers protecting something important
often trapped, usually with poison needles that
beyond. Thus, they are often locked or barred.
extend out to prick a rogue’s finger.
Iron: Rusted but sturdy, iron doors in a dungeon are
Breaking a lock is sometimes quicker than breakhinged like wooden doors. These doors are the toughing the whole door. If a PC wants to whack at a lock
est form of nonmagical door. They are usually locked or
with a weapon, treat the typical lock as having hardbarred.
ness 15 and 30 hit points. A lock can only be
Locks, Bars, and Seals: Dungeon doors may be
broken if it can be attacked separately from the
locked, trapped, reinforced, barred, magically sealed, or
door, which means that a built-in lock is immune
sometimes just stuck. All but the weakest characters
to this sort of treatment.
can eventually knock down a door with a heavy tool
Keep in mind that in an occupied dungeon,
such as a sledgehammer, and a number of spells and
every locked door should have a key somewhere.
magic items give characters an easy way around a
If the adventurers are unable to pick a lock or
locked door.
break down the door, finding whoever has the key and getAttempts to literally chop a door down with a slashing
Wooden door
ting it away from its possessor can be an interesting part of
or bludgeoning weapon use the hardness and hit points
the adventure.
given in Table 3–10: Doors. Often the easiest way to overcome a
A special door (see below for examples) might have a lock with
recalcitrant door is not by demolishing it but by breaking
no key, instead requiring that the right combination of nearby
its lock, bar, or hinges. When assigning a DC to
levers must be manipulated or the right symbols must be pressed
an attempt to knock a door down, use
on a keypad in the correct sequence to
the following as guidelines:
open the door. You’re perfectly justiDC 10 or Lower: a door just about
fied in ruling that some puzzle doors
anyone can break open.
must be solved by the characters
DC 11–15: a door that a strong
rather than being bypassed with an
person could break with one try and
Open Lock check—for example,
an average person might be able to
if a door only unlocks when the
break with one try.
riddle carved on it is correctly
DC 16–20: a door that almost
answered, then it’s up to the charanyone could break, given time.
acters to solve the riddle.
DC 21–25: a door that only a strong
Stuck Doors: Dungeons are
or very strong person has a hope of
often damp, and sometimes doors
breaking, probably not on the first try.
get stuck, particularly wooden
DC 26 or Higher: a door that only an
doors. Assume that about 10% of
exceptionally strong person has a
wooden doors and 5% of nonhope of breaking.
wooden doors are stuck. These numFor specific examples in applying
bers can be doubled (to 20% and
these guidelines, see Table 3–17:
10%, respectively) for long-abanRandom Door Types (page 78).
doned or neglected dungeons.
Locks: Dungeon doors are often
Stone door
Table 3–17 (page 78) gives Strength
locked, and thus the Open Lock skill comes
check DCs to open various kinds of
in very handy. Locks are usually built into the door, either on the
stuck doors.
edge opposite the hinges or right in the middle of the door. BuiltIron door

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62

Barred Doors: When characters try to bash down a barred
door, it’s the quality of the bar that matters, not the material the
door is made of. It takes a DC 25 Strength check to break through
a door with a wooden bar, and a DC 30 Strength check if the bar is
made of iron. Characters can attack the door and destroy it
instead, leaving the bar hanging in the now-open doorway.
Magic Seals: In addition to magic traps (described in the traps
section below), spells such as arcane lock can discourage passage
through a door. A door with an arcane lock spell on it is considered
locked even if it doesn’t have a physical lock. It takes a knock spell,
a dispel magic spell, or a successful Strength check (DC equal to 10
+ the value given on Table 3–17: Random Door Types, page 78) to
get through such a door.
Hinges: Most doors have hinges. Obviously, sliding doors do
not. (They usually have tracks or grooves instead, allowing them
to slide easily to one side.)
Standard Hinges: These hinges are metal, joining one edge of the
door to the doorframe or wall. Remember that the door swings
open toward the side with the hinges. (So, if the hinges are on the
PCs’ side, the door opens toward them; otherwise it opens away
from them.) Adventurers can take the hinges apart one at a time
with successful Disable Device checks (assuming the hinges are
on their side of the door, of course). Such a task has a DC of 20
because most hinges are rusted or stuck. Breaking a hinge is difficult. Most have hardness 10 and 30 hit points. The break DC for a
hinge is the same as for breaking down the door (see Table 3–17:
Random Door Types, page 78).
Nested Hinges: These hinges are much more complex than ordinary hinges, and are found only in areas of excellent construction,
such as an underground dwarven citadel. These hinges are built
into the wall and allow the door to swing open in either direction.
PCs can’t get at the hinges to fool with them unless they break
through the doorframe or wall. Nested hinges are typically found
on stone doors but sometimes on wooden or iron doors as well.
Pivots: Pivots aren’t really hinges at all, but simple knobs jutting
from the top and bottom of the door that fit into holes in the
doorframe, allowing the door to spin. The advantages of pivots is
that they can’t be dismantled like hinges and they’re simple to
make. The disadvantage is that since the door pivots on its center
of gravity (typically in the middle), nothing larger than half the
door’s width can fit through. Doors with pivots are usually stone
and are often quite wide to overcome this disadvantage. Another
solution is to place the pivot toward one side and have the door be
thicker at that end and thinner toward the other end so that it
opens more like a normal door. Secret doors in walls often turn
on pivots, since the lack of hinges makes it easier to hide the
door’s presence. Pivots also allow objects such as bookcases to be
used as secret doors.
Special Doors: An interesting facet of a dungeon might be a
sealed door too strong to break down. Such a door might be
opened only by operating secret switches, or hidden (and distant)
levers. Crafty builders make using the switches or levers more difficult by requiring that they be used in a special way. For example,
a particular door might only open if a series of four levers is moved
into a specific configuration—two pushed up and two pushed
down. If a lever in the series is put in the wrong position, a trap is
sprung. Now imagine how much more difficult it would be if
there were a dozen or more levers, with multiple settings, spread
out through the entire dungeon. Finding the method to open a
special door (perhaps leading into the vault, the vampire’s lair, or
the dragon’s secret temple) can be an adventure in itself.
Sometimes a door is special because of its construction. A leadlined door, for example, provides a barrier against many detection
spells. A heavy iron door might be built in a circular design,
rolling to one side on a track once it is opened. A mechanical door
linked with levers or winches might not open unless the proper
mechanism is activated. Such doors often sink into the floor, rise

up into the ceiling, lower like a drawbridge, or slide into the wall
rather than merely swinging open like a normal door.
Secret Doors: Disguised as a bare patch of wall (or floor, or ceiling), a bookcase, a fireplace, or a fountain, a secret door leads to a
secret passage or room. Someone examining the area finds a secret
door, if one exists, on a successful Search check (DC 20 for a typical secret door to DC 30 for a well-hidden secret door). Remember
that elves have a chance to detect a secret door just by casually
looking at an area.
Many secret doors require a special method of opening, such as
a hidden button or pressure plate. Secret doors can open like normal doors, or they may pivot, slide, sink, rise, or even lower like a
drawbridge to permit access. Builders might put a secret door
down low near the floor or high up in a wall, making it difficult to
find or reach. Wizards and sorcerers have a spell, phase door, that
allows them to create a magic secret door that only they can use.
Magic Doors: Enchanted by the original builders, a door might
speak to explorers, warning them away. It might be protected from
harm, increasing its hardness or giving it more hit points as well as
an improved saving throw bonus against disintegrate and other
similar spells. A magic door might not lead into the space revealed
beyond, but instead it might be a portal to a faraway place or even
another plane of existence. Other magic doors might require passwords or special keys (ranging from the tail feather of an evil
eagle, to a note played upon a lute, to a certain frame of mind) to
open them. Effectively, the range and variety of magic doors is
limited only by your imagination.
Door Traps: More often than just about any other facet of a
dungeon, doors are protected by traps. The reason is pretty obvious—an opened door means an intruder. A mechanical trap can
be connected to a door by wires or springs so that it activates when
the door is opened—firing an arrow, releasing a cloud of gas,
opening a trapdoor, letting loose a monster, dropping a heavy
block on intruders, or whatever. Magic traps such as glyphs of warding typically are cast directly on the door, blasting intruders with
flame or some other magical attack.
Portcullises: These special doors consist of iron or thick, ironbound, wooden shafts that descend from a recess in the ceiling
above an archway. Sometimes a portcullis has crossbars that create
a grid, sometimes not. Typically raised by means of a winch or a
capstan, a portcullis can be dropped quickly, and the shafts end in
spikes to discourage anyone from standing underneath (or from
attempting to dive under it as it drops). Once it is dropped, a portcullis locks, unless it is so large that no normal person could lift it
anyway. In any event, lifting a typical portcullis requires a DC 25
Strength check.

ROOMS
Rooms in dungeons vary in shape and size. Although many are
simple in construction and appearance, particularly interesting
rooms have multiple levels joined by stairs, ramps, or ladders, as
well as statuary, altars, pits, chasms, bridges, and more.
Keep three things in mind when designing a dungeon room:
decoration, ceiling support, and exits.
Most kinds of intelligent creatures have a tendency to decorate
their lairs. It should be fairly commonplace to find carvings or
paintings on the walls of dungeon rooms. Exploring adventurers
also often encounter statues and bas reliefs, as well as scrawled
messages, marks, and maps left behind by others who have come
this way before. Some of these marks amount to little more than
graffiti (“Robilar was here”), while others may be useful to adventurers who examine them closely.
Underground chambers are prone to collapse, so many rooms—
particularly large ones—have arched ceilings or pillars to support
the weight of the rock overhead.
Pay close attention to the exits. Creatures that can’t open doors
can’t make a lair in a sealed room without some sort of external

CHAPTER 3:

ADVENTURES
Illus. by W. Reynolds

assistance. Strong creatures without the ability to open doors
CORRIDORS
smash them down if necessary. Burrowing creatures might dig
Stretching into the darkness, a mysterious, cobweb-filled passage
their own exits.
deeper into the dungeon can be intriguing and a little frightening.
In general, both the PCs and the monsters should be able to
All dungeons have rooms, and most have corridors. While most
move around a room without too much difficulty. Fighting a battle
corridors simply connect rooms, sometimes they can be
in particularly tight quarters can make for an interesting change
encounter areas in their own right because of traps, guard patrols,
of pace, however.
and wandering monsters out on the hunt.
Common dungeon rooms fall into the following broad cateWhen designing a dungeon, make sure the corridors are large
gories. Use them as a springboard for your own creations, not as a
enough for the dungeon residents to use. (For example, a dragon
limited list.
needs a pretty big tunnel to get in and out of its lair.) Wealthy,
Guard Post: Intelligent, social denizens of the dungeon will
powerful, or talented dungeon builders may favor wide corridors
generally have a series of adjacent rooms they consider “theirs,”
to give a grand appearance to their residences. Otherwise, pasand they’ll guard the entrances to that common area. A guard post
sages are no larger than they need to be. (Tunneling is expensive,
may just be a room with a table where bored gnolls play a dice
back-breaking, and time-consuming work.) Corridors narrower
game. Or it might be a pair of iron golems backed up by two firethan 10 feet can make it difficult for all the members of the PC
ball-casting drow wizards hiding in balconies overhead. When you
party to get involved in any fights that occur, so make them the
design a guard post, decide how many guards are on duty, note
exception rather than the rule.
their Listen and Spot modifiers, and decide what they do when
Corridor Traps: Because passageways in dungeons tend to be
they notice intruders. Some will rush headlong into a fight, while
narrow, offering few movement options, dungeon builders like to
others will negotiate, sound an alarm, or retreat to get help.
place traps in them. In a cramped passageway, there’s no way for
Living Quarters: All but the most nomadic creatures have a
intruders to move around concealed pits, falling stones, arrow
lair where they can rest, eat, and store their treasure. Living quartraps, tilting floors, and sliding or rolling rocks that fill the entire
ters commonly include beds (if the creature sleeps), possessions
passage. For the same reason, magic traps such as glyphs of warding
(both valuable and mundane), and some sort of food preparation
are effective in hallways as well.
area (anything from a well-stocked kitchen to a fire pit to a hunk
Mazes: Usually, passages connect chambers in the simplest and
of rotting venison). Noncombatant creatures such as juveniles and
straightest manner possible. Some dungeon builders, however,
the elderly are often found here.
design a maze or a labyrinth within the dungeon. This sort of conWork Area: The bugbear fletcher has an alcove where she
struction is difficult to navigate (or at least to navigate quickly)
makes new arrows for the tribe. The mind flayers have a grisly torand, when filled with monsters or traps, can be an effective barture chamber where they bring their stunned victims for brain
rier. A maze can be used to cut off one area of the dungeon, deflectextraction. Most intelligent creatures do more than just guard, eat,
ing intruders away from a protected spot. Generally, though, the
and sleep, and many devote rooms to magic laboratories, workfar side of a maze holds an important crypt or vault—someplace
shops for weapons and armor, or studios for more esoteric tasks.
that the dungeon’s regular inhabitants rarely need to get to.
Shrine: The ogre in the cave keeps a candle lit next to the skull
of her child, which was killed by human hunters. The kuo-toas
MISCELLANEOUS FEATURES
have a series of underwater altars dedicated to their dread god
Any dungeon is made more interesting by the inclusion of some
Blibdoolpoolp. Any creature that is particularly religious may have
or all of the following features.
some place dedicated to worship, and others may venerate someStairs: The usual way to connect different levels of a dungeon
thing of great historical or personal value. Depending on the creais with stairs. Straight stairways, spiral staircases, or stairwells
ture’s resources and piety, a shrine can be humble or extensive. A
with multiple landings between flights of stairs are all common
shrine is where PCs will likely encounter NPC clerics, and it’s
in dungeons, as are ramps (sometimes with an incline so slight
common for wounded monsters to flee to a shrine friendly to
that it can be difficult to notice; Spot DC 15). Stairs are important
them when they seek healing.
accessways, and are sometimes guarded or trapped. Traps on
Vault: Well protected, often by a locked iron
stairs often cause intruders to slide or fall down to the
door, a vault is a special room that contains treabottom, where a pit, spikes, a pool of acid, or some other
sure. There’s usually only one entrance—an
danger awaits.
appropriate place for a trap.
Gradual Stairs: Stairs that rise less than 5 feet for every 5
Crypt: Although sometimes confeet of horizontal distance they cover don’t affect movestructed like a vault, a crypt can also be a
ment, but characters who attack a foe below them gain a +1
series of individual rooms, each with its
bonus on attack rolls from being on higher ground. Most stairs in
own sarcophagus, or a long hall with
dungeons are gradual, except for spiral stairs (see below).
recesses on either side—shelves to hold
Steep Stairs: Characters moving up steep stairs (which rise at a 45coffins or bodies. Wise adventurers expect
degree angle or steeper) must spend 2 squares of movement to enter
to encounter undead in a crypt, but are
each square of stairs. Characters running or charging
often willing to risk it to look for the treasure
down steep stairs must succeed on a DC 10 Balance check
that’s often buried with the dead. Crypts of most
upon entering the first steep stairs square. Characters who
cultures are well appointed and highly decorated,
fail stumble and must end their movement 1d2×5 feet later.
since the fact that the crypt was created at
Characters who fail by 5 or more take 1d6 points of damage
all shows great reverence for the dead
and fall prone in the square where they end their movement.
entombed within.
Steep stairs increase the DC of Tumble checks by 5.
Those who are worried about undead
Spiral Stairs: This form of steep stairs is designed to make
rising from the grave take the precaution of
defending a fortress easier. Characters gain cover against foes
locking and trapping a crypt from the outside—
below them on spiral stairs because they can easily duck
making the crypt easy to get into but difficult
around the staircase’s central support.
to leave. Those worried about tomb robbers
Railings and Low Walls: Stairs that are open to large rooms
make their crypts difficult to get into. Some
often have railings or low walls. They function as described
builders do both, just to be on the safe side. Spiral staircase made of iron for ledges (see Special Floors, page 60).

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64

Bridge: A bridge connects two higher areas separated by a lower
area, stretching across a chasm, over a river, or above a pit. A simple
bridge might be a single wooden plank, while an elaborate one
could be made of mortared stone with iron supports and side rails.
Narrow Bridge: If a bridge is particularly narrow, such as a series
of planks laid over lava fissures, treat it as a ledge (see Special
Floors, page 60). It requires a Balance check (DC dependent on
width) to cross such a bridge.
Rope Bridge: Constructed of wooden planks suspended from
ropes, a rope bridge is convenient because it’s portable and can be
easily removed. It takes two full-round actions to untie one end of
a rope bridge, but a DC 15 Use Rope check reduces the time to a
move action. If only one of the two supporting ropes is attached,
everyone on the bridge must succeed on a DC 15 Reflex save to
avoid falling off, and thereafter must make DC 15 Climb checks to
move along the remnants of the bridge.
Rope bridges are usually 5 feet wide. The two ropes that support
them have 8 hit points each.
Drawbridge: Some bridges have mechanisms that allow them to
be extended or retracted from the gap they cross. Typically, the
winch mechanism exists on only one side of the bridge. It takes a
move action to lower a drawbridge, but the bridge doesn’t come
down until the beginning of the lowering character’s next turn. It
takes a full-round action to raise a drawbridge; the drawbridge is
up at the end of the action.
Particularly long or wide drawbridges may take more time to
raise and lower, and some may require Strength checks to rotate
the winch.
Railings and Low Walls: Some bridges have railings or low walls
along the sides. If a bridge does, the railing or low walls affect Balance checks and bull rush attempts as described for ledges (see
Special Floors, page 60). Low walls likewise provide cover to
bridge occupants.
Chutes and Chimneys: Stairs aren’t the only way to move up
and down in a dungeon. Sometimes a vertical shaft connects
levels of a dungeon or links a dungeon with the surface. Chutes
are usually traps that dump characters into a lower area—often a
place featuring some dangerous situation with which they must
contend.
Pillar: A common sight in any dungeon, pillars and columns
give support to ceilings. The larger the room, the more likely it has
pillars. As a rule of thumb, the deeper in the dungeon a room is,
the thicker the pillars need to be to support the overhead weight.
Pillars tend to be polished and often have carvings,
paintings, or inscriptions upon them.
Slender Pillar: These pillars are only a foot or two
across, so they don’t occupy a whole square. Place a
dot in the center of each square that has a slender
pillar in it, and don’t worry about exactly how much
space it takes up. A creature standing in the same
square as a slender pillar gains a +2 cover bonus to
Armor Class and a +1 cover bonus on Reflex saves
(these bonuses don’t stack with cover bonuses from
other sources). The presence of a slender pillar does
not otherwise affect a creature’s fighting space,
because it’s assumed that the creature is using the
pillar to its advantage when it can. A typical slender
pillar has AC 4, hardness 8, and 250 hit points.
Wide Pillar: These pillars take up an entire square
and provide cover to anyone behind them. They
have AC 3, hardness 8, and 900 hit points.
A DC 20 Climb check is sufficient to climb
most pillars; the DC increases to 25 for polished
or unusually slick ones.
Stalagmite/Stalactite: These tapering
natural rock columns extend from the floor
Pillar (stalagmite) or the ceiling (stalactite). Stalagmites

and stalactites function as slender pillars,
Statue of a warrior
although it is rumored that deep in the
Underdark, some wide stalagmites and stalactites exist.
Statue: Reflections of bygone days, statues found in dungeons can be realistic depictions of persons, creatures, or scenes, or they
can be less lifelike in their imagery. Statues
often serve as commemorative representations
of people from the past as well as idols of gods.
Statues may be either painted or left bare. Some
have inscriptions. Adventurers wisely distrust
statues in dungeons for fear that they may animate and attack, as a stone golem can do. Statues
in a dungeon could also be a sign indicating the
presence of a monster with a petrifying power
(such as a medusa or a cockatrice). Feel free to utilize both of these ideas, but don’t forget that sometimes a statue is just a statue.
Most statues function as wide pillars, taking
up a square and providing cover. Some statues
are smaller and act as slender pillars. A DC 15
Climb check allows a character to climb a statue.
Tapestry: Elaborately embroidered patterns or scenes on cloth,
tapestries hang from the walls of well-appointed dungeon rooms or
corridors. They not only make chambers more comfortable as a residence but can add a ceremonial touch to shrines and throne rooms.
Crafty builders take advantage of tapestries to place alcoves, concealed doors, or secret switches behind them. Sometimes the images
in a tapestry contain clues to the nature of the builders, the inhabitants, or the dungeon itself.
Tapestries provide total concealment (50% miss chance) to characters behind them if they’re hanging from the ceiling, or concealment (20% miss chance) if they’re flush with the wall.
Climbing a big tapestry isn’t particularly difficult, requiring a
DC 15 Climb check (or DC 10 if a wall is within reach).
Pedestal: Anything important on display in a dungeon, from a
fabulous treasure to a coffin, tends to rest atop a pedestal or a dais.
Raising the object off the floor focuses attention on it (and, in
practical terms, keeps it safe from any water or other substance
that might seep onto the floor). A pedestal is often trapped to protect whatever sits atop it. It can conceal a secret trapdoor beneath
itself or provide a way to reach a door in the ceiling above itself.
Only the largest pedestals take up an entire square; most provide
no cover.
Pool: Pools of water collect naturally in low spots in dungeons (a
dry dungeon is rare). Pools can also be wells or natural underground springs, or they can be intentionally created
basins, cisterns, and fountains. In any event,
water is fairly common in dungeons, harboring sightless fish and sometimes aquatic
monsters. Pools provide water for dungeon denizens, and thus are as important
an area for a predator to control as a watering hole aboveground in the wild.
Shallow Pool: If a square contains a shallow
pool, it has roughly 1 foot of standing water.
It costs 2 squares of movement to move
into a square with a shallow pool, and the
DC of Tumble checks in such squares
increases by 2.
Deep Pool: These squares have at
least 4 feet of standing water. It costs
Medium or larger creatures 4 squares of
movement to move into a square with
a deep pool, or characters can swim if
A pedestal
they wish. Small or smaller creatures
displaying a grand gem

d%
01
02
03
04
05
06
07
08
09
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17
18
19
20
21
22
23
24
25
26
27
28
29
30
31

Feature/Furnishing
Alcove
Altar
Arch
Arrow slit (wall)/murder hole (ceiling)
Balcony
Barrel
Bed
Bench
Bookcase
Brazier
Cage
Caldron
Carpet
Carving
Casket
Catwalk
Chair
Chandelier
Charcoal bin
Chasm
Chest
Chest of drawers
Chute
Coat rack
Collapsed wall
Crate
Cupboard
Curtain
Divan
Dome
Door (broken)

32
33
34
35
36
37
38
39
40
41
42
43
44
45
46
47
48
49
50
51
52
53
54
55
56
57
58
59
60
61
62
63
64
65

Dung heap
Evil symbol
Fallen stones
Firepit
Fireplace
Font
Forge
Fountain
Furniture (broken)
Gong
Hay (pile)
Hole
Hole (blasted)
Idol
Iron bars
Iron maiden
Kiln
Ladder
Ledge
Loom
Loose masonry
Manacles
Manger
Mirror
Mosaic
Mound of rubble
Oven
Overhang
Painting
Partially collapsed ceiling
Pedestal
Peephole
Pillar
Pillory

66
67
68
69
70
71
72
73
74
75
76
77
78
79
80
81
82
83
84
85
86
87
88
89
90
91
92
93
94
95
96
97
98
99
100

Pit (shallow)
Platform
Pool
Portcullis
Rack
Ramp
Recess
Relief
Sconce
Screen
Shaft
Shelf
Shrine
Spinning wheel
Stall or pen
Statue
Statue (toppled)
Steps
Stool
Stuffed beast
Sunken area
Table (large)
Table (small)
Tapestry
Throne
Trash (pile)
Tripod
Trough
Tub
Wall basin
Wardrobe
Weapon rack
Well
Winch and pulley
Workbench

ADVENTURES

Table 3–11:
Major Features and Furnishings

CHAPTER 3:

holy water, saltwater, or water tainted with disease (see page
must swim to move through a square containing a deep pool.
292 for some possible diseases).
Tumbling is impossible in a deep pool.
Elevator: In place of or in addition to stairs, an
The water in a deep pool provides cover for
elevator (essentially an oversized dumbwaiter) can
Medium or larger creatures. Smaller creatures
take inhabitants from one dungeon level to the next.
gain improved cover (+8 bonus to AC, +4 bonus on
Such an elevator may be mechanical (using gears, pulReflex saves). Medium or larger creatures can crouch
leys, and winches) or magical (such as a levitate spell
as a move action to gain this improved cover. Creacast on a movable flat surface). A mechanical elevator
tures with this improved cover take a –10 penalty
might be as small as a platform that holds one characon attacks against creatures that aren’t also underter at a time, or as large as an entire room that raises
water.
and lowers. A clever builder might design an elevator
Deep pool squares are usually clustered together
room that moves up or down without the occupants’
and surrounded by a ring of shallow pool squares.
knowledge to catch them in a trap, or one that appears
Both shallow pools and deep pools impose a –2 cirto have moved when it actually remained still.
cumstance penalty on Move Silently checks.
A typical elevator ascends or descends 10 feet per
Special Pools: Through accident or design, a pool can
round at the beginning of the operator’s turn (or on
become magically enhanced. Rarely, a pool or a fountain
initiative count 0 if it functions without regard to
may be found that has the ability to bestow beneficial
whether creatures are on it. Elevators can be
magic on those who drink from it—healing, ability
enclosed, can have railings or low walls, or may
score modification, transmutation magic, or even
simply be treacherous floating platforms.
something as amazing as a wish spell. However, magic
Ladders: Whether free-standing or rungs set
pools are just as likely to curse the drinker, causing a
into a wall, a ladder requires a DC 0 Climb check to
loss of health, an unwanted polymorphing, or some A pool with a grim fountain
ascend or descend.
even greater affliction. Typically, water from a magic
Shifting Stone or Wall: These features can cut off access to a
pool loses its potency if removed from the pool for more than an
passage or room, trapping adventurers in a dead end or preventing
hour or so.
escape out of the dungeon. Shifting walls can force explorers to go
Some pools have fountains. Occasionally these are merely decodown a dangerous path or prevent them from entering a special
rative, but they often serve as the focus of a trap or the source of a
area. Not all shifting walls need be traps. For example, stones conpool’s magic.
trolled by pressure plates, counterweights, or a secret lever can
Most pools are made of water, but anything’s possible in a
shift out of a wall to become a staircase leading to a hidden upper
dungeon. Pools can hold unsavory substances such as blood,
room or secret ledge.
poison, oil, or magma. And even if a pool holds water, it can be

65

ADVENTURES

CHAPTER 3:

Shifting stones and walls are generally constructed as traps (see
page 67), with triggers and Search and Disable Device DCs. However they don’t have Challenge Ratings because they’re inconveniences, not deadly in and of themselves.
Teleporters: Sometimes useful, sometimes devious, places in a
dungeon rigged with a teleportation effect (such as a teleportation
circle) transport characters to some other location in the dungeon
or someplace far away. They can be traps, teleporting the unwary
into dangerous situations, or they can be an easy mode of transport for those who built or live in the dungeon, good for bypassing
barriers and traps or simply to get around
more quickly. Devious dungeon designers
might place a teleporter in a room that transports characters to another seemingly identical room so that they don’t even know
An altar
they’ve been teleported. A detect magic spell
dedicated to
will provide a clue to the presence of a telean evil deity
porter, but direct experimentation or other
research is the only way to discover where
the teleporter leads.
Altars: Temples—particularly to dark
gods—often exist underground. Usually taking the form of a stone block, an
altar is the main fixture and central focus
of such a temple. Sometimes all the other
trappings of the temple are long gone,
lost to theft, age, and decay, but the altar
survives. Some altars have traps or powerful magic within them. Most take up
one or two squares on the grid and provide cover to creatures
behind them.

Table 3–12:
Minor Features and Furnishings

66

d%
01
02
03
04
05
06
07
08
09
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17
18
19
20
21
22
23
24
25
26
27
28
29
30
31

Feature/Furnishing
Anvil
Ash
Backpack
Bale (straw)
Bellows
Belt
Bits of fur
Blanket
Bloodstain
Bones (humanoid)
Bones (nonhumanoid)
Books
Boots
Bottle
Box
Branding iron
Broken glass
Bucket
Candle
Candelabra
Cards (playing cards)
Chains
Claw marks
Cleaver
Clothing
Cobwebs
Cold spot
Corpse (adventurer)
Corpse (monster)
Cracks
Dice

32
33
34
35
36
37
38
39
40
41
42
43
44
45
46
47
48
49
50
51
52
53
54
55
56
57
58
59
60
61
62
63
64
65

CAVE-INS AND COLLAPSES (CR 8)
Cave-ins and collapsing tunnels are extremely dangerous. Not only
do dungeon explorers face the danger of being crushed by tons of
falling rock, even if they survive they may be buried beneath a pile
of rubble or cut off from the only known exit. A cave-in buries
anyone in the middle of the collapsing area, and then sliding debris
damages anyone in the periphery of the collapse. A typical corridor
subject to a cave-in might have a bury zone with a 15-foot radius
and a 10-foot-radius slide zone extending beyond the bury zone.
A weakened ceiling can be spotted with a DC 20 Knowledge
(architecture and engineering) or DC 20 Craft (stonemasonry)
check. Remember that Craft checks can be made untrained as Intelligence checks. A dwarf can make such a check if he simply
passes within 10 feet of a weakened ceiling.
A weakened ceiling may collapse when subjected to a major
impact or concussion. A character can cause a cave-in by destroying half the pillars holding the ceiling up. If you want to create a
room where a collapse is a real possibility, include a number of
pillars that have already toppled before the PCs arrive. (The
presence of broken pillars is an obvious clue to a weakened
ceiling, even for characters with no particular knowledge.)
Characters in the bury zone of a cave-in take 8d6 points of
damage, or half that amount if they make a DC 15 Reflex
save. They are subsequently buried. Characters in the slide
zone take 3d6 points of damage, or no damage at all if they
make a DC 15 Reflex save. Characters in the slide zone who
fail their saves are buried.
Characters take 1d6 points of nonlethal damage per
minute while buried. If such a character falls unconscious, he
must make a DC 15 Constitution check. If it fails, he takes 1d6
points of lethal damage each minute thereafter until freed or dead.

Discarded weapons
Dishes
Dripping water
Drum
Dust
Engraving
Equipment (broken)
Equipment (usable)
Flask
Flint and tinder
Foodstuffs (spoiled)
Foodstuffs (edible)
Fungus
Grinder
Hook
Horn
Hourglass
Insects
Jar
Keg
Key
Lamp
Lantern
Markings
Mold
Mud
Mug
Musical instrument
Mysterious stain
Nest (animal)
Odor (unidentifiable)
Oil (fuel)
Oil (scented)
Paint

66
67
68
69
70
71
72
73
74
75
76
77
78
79
80
81
82
83
84
85
86
87
88
89
90
91
92
93
94
95
96
97
98
99
100

Paper
Pillows
Pipe (smoking pipe)
Pole
Pot
Pottery shard
Pouch
Puddle (water)
Rags
Razor
Rivulet
Ropes
Runes
Sack
Scattered stones
Scorch marks
Scroll (nonmagical)
Scroll case (empty)
Skull
Slime
Sound (unexplained)
Spices
Spike
Teeth
Tongs
Tools
Torch (stub)
Tray
Trophy
Twine
Urn
Utensils
Whetstone
Wood (scraps)
Words (scrawled)

Some dungeons are well-lighted, while others are as dark as pitch.
The illumination in a dungeon you create should depend on two
factors: the monsters that inhabit it and your preference as a DM.
Obviously, monsters without any way to see in the dark will
carry light with them or keep the areas they frequent illuminated.
On the opposite end of the spectrum, creatures with blindsight
and tremorsense can often do without light. In general, smart
monsters will keep the lights off if they’re worried about attacks
from humans and other creatures that can’t see in the dark. And
less intelligent monsters may live in the dark simply because they
haven’t mastered the crafts of magic or making fire.
Creatures with 60-foot darkvision fall somewhere between the
two extremes. They have an advantage against creatures without
darkvision if they fight in the dark. On the other hand, few intelligent creatures will willingly live their day-to-day lives in black and
white when a simple torch or 0-level spell would let them see colors.
Many underground civilizations keep “safe” areas lighted, but douse
their lanterns if they’re warned of intruders from the surface world.
Another aspect of darkvision to consider is its limited range.
Creatures who live in a vast underground cavern might have
torches to light the entrance, which otherwise they couldn’t see
because it’s more than 60 feet away from much of the cavern.
Because regular vision extends until it’s blocked, their guards can
see without being seen—a major tactical advantage.
You may want to have combat in the dark sparingly because it can
be frustrating for the players, who spend much of their time guessing
which squares their foes are in. A fight in the darkness is also harder
for you to keep track of, because you have to know where every
unseen foe is. It may be easier for you and the players to simply establish the convention that in this dungeon, torches are set in sconces
every 40 feet along the walls. But done sparingly and well, a fight in
the darkness can turn into an exciting cat-and-mouse game, in which
characters with good Listen scores really have a chance to shine.

Random Features and Furnishings
Table 3–11: Major Features and Furnishings is a list of large or predominant features commonly found in dungeons. Use this table
as a feature generator when creating a random dungeon or to
round out one you are creating.
Adventures can also come across small bits and contents of dungeon rooms while exploring. Use Table 3–12: Minor Features and
Furnishings to generate these contents randomly, or pick what
appeals to you from the list.

ADVENTURES

ILLUMINATION

TRAPS

In a dungeon, adventurers can fall to their deaths, be burned alive,
or find themselves peppered with poisoned darts—all without ever
having encountered a single monster. Dungeons tend to be filled
with barriers or life-threatening traps of one kind or another. The
following section describes how traps work, provides a large selection of sample traps, and offers some basic rules for trap creation.
Types of Traps: A trap can be either mechanical or magic in
nature. Mechanical traps include pits, arrow traps, falling blocks,
water-filled rooms, whirling blades, and anything else that
depends on a mechanism to operate. A mechanical trap can be
constructed by a PC through successful use of the Craft (trapmaking) skill (see Designing a Trap, page 74, and the skill description
on page 70 of the Player’s Handbook).
Magic traps are further divided into spell traps and magic
device traps. Magic device traps initiate spell effects when activated, just as wands, rods, rings, and other magic items do. Creating a magic device trap requires the Craft Wondrous Item feat (see
Designing a Trap, page 74, and the feat description on page 92 of
the Player’s Handbook).
Spell traps are simply spells that themselves function as traps,
such as fire trap or glyph of warding. Creating a spell trap requires
the services of a character who can cast the needed spell or spells,
who is usually either the character creating the trap or an NPC
spellcaster hired for the purpose.

CHAPTER 3:

Characters who aren’t buried can dig out their friends. In 1
minute, using only her hands, a character can clear rocks and
debris equal to five times her heavy load limit (see Table 9–1: Carrying Capacity, page 162 of the Player’s Handbook). The amount of
loose stone that fills a 5-foot-by-5-foot area weighs one ton (2,000
pounds). Therefore, the average adventurer (Str 10, heavy load
limit 100 lb.) takes 4 minutes to clear a 5-foot cube filled with
stone (100 lb. × 5 = 500 lb.; 500 lb. × 4 = 2,000 lb.). A half-orc with
20 Strength (heavy load limit 400 lb.) can accomplish the same
feat in 1 minute (400 lb. × 5 = 2,000 lb.). Armed with an appropriate tool, such as a pick, crowbar, or shovel, a digger can clear loose
stone twice as quickly as by hand. You may allow a buried character to free himself with a DC 25 Strength check.

MECHANICAL TRAPS
Dungeons are frequently equipped with deadly mechanical (nonmagical) traps, such as hidden crossbows that fire when the target
unwittingly steps on a trigger plate on the floor, or hallways rigged
to collapse in a deadly cave-in. A trap typically is defined by its location and triggering conditions, how hard it is to spot before it goes
off, how much damage it deals, and whether or not the heroes
receive a saving throw to mitigate its effects. Traps that attack with
arrows, sweeping blades, and other types of weaponry make normal
attack rolls, with a specific attack bonus dictated by the trap’s design.
Creatures who succeed on a DC 20 Search check detect a simple
mechanical trap before it is triggered. (A simple trap is a snare, a
trap triggered by a tripwire, or a large trap such as a pit.)
A character with the trap sense class feature who succeeds on a
DC 21 (or higher) Search check detects a well-hidden or complex
mechanical trap before it is triggered. Complex traps are denoted
by their triggering mechanisms and involve pressure plates,
mechanisms linked to doors, changes in weight, disturbances in
the air, vibrations, and other sorts of unusual triggers.

MAGIC TRAPS
Many spells can be used to create dangerous traps. For example,
high-level clerics can create glyphs of warding or symbol spells to
prevent intruders from entering a particular area, while high-level
wizards can create fire traps or permanent images to conceal dangers
or confuse invaders. Unless the spell or item description states
otherwise, assume the following to be true.
• A successful Search check (DC 25 + spell level) made by a
rogue (and only a rogue) detects a magic trap before it goes off.
Other characters have no chance to find a magic trap with a
Search check.

pqqqqrs
BEHIND THE CURTAIN: TRAPS
Why use traps? Traps change the play of the game. If the adventurers
suspect traps or have encountered them frequently in the past, they’re
much more likely to be cautious on adventures and particularly in dungeons. While instilling a little fear and paranoia in players can be fun, you
should be aware that this also tends to slow down play, and searching

every square foot of a corridor can get tedious for players and DM alike.
The solution is to place traps only when appropriate. Characters and
creatures put traps on tombs and vaults to keep out intruders, but
traps can be annoying and inappropriate in well-traveled areas. An
intelligent creature is never going to build a trap that it might fall victim
to itself.

pqqqqrs

67

• Magic traps permit a saving throw in order to avoid the effect
(DC 10 + spell level × 1.5).
• Magic traps may be disarmed by a rogue (and only a rogue) with
a successful Disable Device check (DC 25 + spell level).

ADVENTURES

CHAPTER 3:

ELEMENTS OF A TRAP
All traps—mechanical or magic—have the following elements:
trigger, reset, Search DC, Disable Device DC, attack bonus (or
saving throw or onset delay), damage/effect, and Challenge
Rating. Some traps may also include optional elements, such as
poison or a bypass. These characteristics are described below.

Trigger
A trap’s trigger determines how it is sprung.
Location: A location trigger springs a trap when someone
stands in a particular square. For example, a covered pit trap typically activates when a creature steps on a certain spot.
Proximity: This trigger activates the trap when a creature approaches within a certain distance of it. A proximity trigger differs
from a location trigger in that the creature need not be standing in
a particular square. Creatures that are flying can spring a trap with
a proximity trigger but not one with a location trigger. Mechanical
proximity triggers are extremely sensitive to the slightest change
in the air. This makes them useful only in places such as crypts,
where the air is unusually still.
The proximity trigger used most often for magic device traps is
the alarm spell. Unlike when the spell is cast, an alarm spell used
as a trigger can have an area that’s no larger than the area the trap
is meant to protect.
Some magic device traps have special proximity triggers that
activate only when certain kinds of creatures approach. For
example, a detect good spell can serve as a proximity trigger on an
evil altar, springing the attached trap only when someone of good
alignment gets close enough to it.
Sound: This trigger springs a magic trap when it detects any
sound. A sound trigger functions like an ear and has a +15 bonus on
Listen checks. A successful Move Silently check, magical silence, and
other effects that would negate hearing defeat it. A trap with a
sound trigger requires the casting of clairaudience during its construction.
Visual: This trigger for magic traps works like an actual eye,
springing the trap whenever it “sees” something. A trap with a
visual trigger requires the casting of arcane eye, clairvoyance, or true
seeing during its construction. Sight range and the Spot bonus conferred on the trap depend on the spell chosen, as shown.
Spell
arcane eye
clairvoyance
true seeing

68

Sight Range
Line of sight (unlimited range)
One preselected location
Line of sight (up to 120 ft.)

Spot Bonus
+20
+15
+30

If you want the trap to “see” in the dark, you must either choose
the true seeing option or add darkvision to the trap as well. (Darkvision limits the trap’s sight range in the dark to 60 feet.) If invisibility, disguises, or illusions can fool the spell being used, they can
fool the visual trigger as well.
Touch: A touch trigger, which springs the trap when touched,
is one of the simplest kinds of trigger to construct. This trigger
may be physically attached to the part of the mechanism that
deals the damage (such as a needle that springs out of a lock), or it
may not. You can make a magic touch trigger by adding alarm to
the trap and reducing the area of the effect to cover only the trigger spot.
Timed: This trigger periodically springs the trap after a certain
duration has passed. A sharpened blade that thrusts out from a slit
in a corridor wall every 4 rounds is an example of a timed trigger.
Spell: All spell traps have this kind of trigger. The appropriate

spell descriptions in the Player’s Handbook explain the trigger conditions for traps that contain spell triggers.

Reset
A reset element is the set of conditions under which a trap becomes ready to trigger again.
No Reset: Short of completely rebuilding the trap, there’s no
way to trigger it more than once. Spell traps have no reset element.
Repair: To get the trap functioning again, you must repair it.
Manual: Resetting the trap requires someone to move the parts
back into place. This is the kind of reset element most mechanical
traps have.
Automatic: The trap resets itself, either immediately or after a
timed interval.

Repairing and Resetting Mechanical Traps
Repairing a mechanical trap requires a Craft (trapmaking) check
against a DC equal to the one for building it. The cost for raw materials is one-fifth of the trap’s original market price. To calculate
how long it takes to fix a trap, use the same calculations you would
for building it, but use the cost of the raw materials required for
repair in place of the market price.
Resetting a trap usually takes only a minute or so—someone
just has to lever the trapdoor back into place, reload the crossbow
behind the wall, or push the poisoned needle back into the lock.
For a trap with a more difficult reset method, you should set the
time and labor required.

Bypass (Optional Element)
If the builder of a trap wants to be able to move past the trap after
it is created or placed, it’s a good idea to build in a bypass mechanism—something that temporarily disarms the trap. Bypass elements are typically used only with mechanical traps; spell traps
usually have built-in allowances for the caster to bypass them.
Lock: A lock bypass requires a DC 30 Open Lock check to open.
Hidden Switch: A hidden switch requires a DC 25 Search
check to locate.
Hidden Lock: A hidden lock combines the features above,
requiring a DC 25 Search check to locate and a DC 30 Open Lock
check to open.

Search and Disable Device DCs
The builder sets the Search and Disable Device DCs for a mechanical trap. For a magic trap, the values depend on the highest-level
spell used.
Mechanical Trap: The base DC for both Search and Disable
Device checks is 20. Raising or lowering either of these DCs
affects the base cost (Table 3–15) and possibly the CR (Table 3–13).
Magic Trap: The DC for both Search and Disable Device checks
is equal to 25 + the spell level of the highest-level spell used. Only
characters with the trap sense class feature can attempt a Search
check or a Disable Device check involving a magic trap. These
DCs do not affect the trap’s cost or CR.

Attack Bonus/Saving Throw DC
A trap usually either makes an attack roll or forces a saving throw
to avoid it. Occasionally a trap uses both of these options, or neither (see Never Miss, page 70).
Pits: These are holes (covered or not) that characters can fall
into and take damage. A pit needs no attack roll, but a successful
Reflex save (DC set by the builder) avoids it. Other save-dependent mechanical traps also fall into this category.
Pits in dungeons come in three basic varieties: uncovered, covered, and chasms. Like a cliff or a wall, a pit or a chasm forces characters to either detour around it or take the time and trouble to figure
out a way across. Pits and chasms can be defeated by judicious application of the Climb skill, the Jump skill, or various magical means.

ADVENTURES

victim is attacked by 1d4 of them. This damage is in addition to
any damage from the fall itself.
Monsters sometimes live in pits—oozes and jellies find that
plenty of food comes to them if the trapped area is well traveled.
Any monster that can fit into the pit might have
been placed there by the dungeon’s designer, or
might simply have fallen in and not been able to
climb back out. In the latter case, either it
hasn’t been there long, or something has
been feeding it. If the pit has water,
the builder may have stocked it
with small carnivorous fish.
Monsters that need no sustenance, such as undead and
constructs, make the best
choices for creatures to
inhabit a pit.
A secondary trap,
mechanical or magical, at the bottom of a
pit can be particularly
deadly. Activated by a
falling victim, the secondary trap attacks the
already injured character
when she’s least ready for
it. Arrow traps, blasts of
flame, sprays of acid, symbol
spells or glyphs of warding,
or even magic monster
summoning devices can all
be found at the bottoms
of pits.
Ranged Attack Traps:
These traps fling darts,
arrows, spears, or the like at
whoever activated the trap. The
builder sets the attack bonus. A
ranged attack trap can be configured to simulate the effect
of a composite bow with a high
strength rating (see page 119 of
the Player’s Handbook), which
provides the trap with a
bonus on damage equal to
its strength rating.
Melee Attack Traps:
These traps feature such obstacles as sharp blades that
emerge from walls and stone
blocks that fall from ceilings.
Once again, the builder sets
the attack bonus.

CHAPTER 3:

Uncovered pits serve mainly to discourage intruders from
going a certain way, although they cause much grief to characters
who stumble into them in the dark, and they can greatly complicate a melee taking place nearby.
Covered pits are much more dangerous. They can be detected
with a DC 20 Search check, but only if the character is
taking the time to carefully examine the area before
walking across it. A character who fails to detect
a covered pit is still entitled to a DC 20
Reflex save to avoid falling into it.
However, if she was running or
moving recklessly at the time,
she gets no saving throw and
falls automatically.
Trap coverings can be
as simple as piled refuse
(straw, leaves, sticks,
garbage), a large rug,
or an actual trapdoor
concealed to appear
as a normal part of the
floor. Such a trapdoor usually swings
open when enough
weight (usually
about 50 to 80
pounds) is placed
upon it. Devious trap
builders sometimes
design trapdoors so
that they spring back
shut after they open,
ready for the next
victim. The trapdoor
might lock once it’s
back in place, leaving
the stranded character well and truly
trapped. Opening
such a trapdoor is
just as difficult as
opening a regular door
(assuming the trapped
character can reach it),
and a DC 13 Strength
check is needed to
keep a spring-loaded
door open.
Pit traps often have
something nastier than
just a hard floor at the
bottom. A trap designer
may put spikes, monsters, or a pool of acid, lava,
or even water at the
bottom (since even a
victim proficient in
swimming will tire and
drown if trapped long
enough).
Spikes at the bottom
of a pit may impale unlucky characters. The
spikes deal damage as daggers
with a +10 attack bonus and a
+1 bonus on damage for every 10 feet of the fall (to a maximum
bonus on damage of +5). If the pit has multiple spikes, a falling

Damage/Effect
The effect of a trap is what
happens to those who spring
it. Usually this takes the form
of either damage or a spell
effect, but some traps have special effects.
Pits: Falling into a pit deals 1d6
points of damage per 10 feet of depth.
Ranged Attack Traps: These traps deal whatever damage their ammunition normally would. A trap that fires longbow arrows, for example, deals 1d8 points of damage per hit. If a
trap is constructed with a high strength rating, it has a correspon-

69

ADVENTURES

CHAPTER 3:

ding bonus on damage. For example, a ranged attack trap (+4 Str
bonus) that fires shortspears could deal up to 1d8+4 points of
damage per successful hit.
Melee Attack Traps: These traps deal the same damage as the
melee weapons they “wield.” In the case of a falling stone block, you
can assign any amount of bludgeoning damage you like, but remember that whoever resets the trap has to lift that stone back into place.
A melee attack trap can be constructed with a built-in bonus on
damage rolls, just as if the trap itself had a high Strength score.
Spell Traps: Spell traps produce the spell’s effect, as described
in the appropriate entry in the Player’s Handbook. Like all spells, a
spell trap that allows a saving throw has a save DC of 10 + spell
level + caster’s relevant ability modifier.
Magic Device Traps: These traps produce the effects of any
spells included in their construction, as described in the appropriate entries in the Player’s Handbook. If the spell in a magic device
trap allows a saving throw, its save DC is 10 + spell level × 1.5.
Some spells make attack rolls instead.
Special: Some traps have miscellaneous features that produce
special effects, such as drowning for a water trap or ability
damage for poison. Saving throws and damage depend on the
poison (see Table 8–3: Poisons, page 297) or are set by the builder,
as appropriate.

Miscellaneous Trap Features
Some traps include optional features that can make them considerably more deadly. The most common such features are discussed
below.
Alchemical Item: Mechanical traps may incorporate alchemical devices or other special substances or items, such as tanglefoot
bags, alchemist’s fire, thunderstones, and the like. Some such
items mimic spell effects. For example, the effect of a tanglefoot
bag is similar to that of an entangle spell, and the effect of a thunderstone is similar to that of a deafness spell. If the item mimics a
spell effect, it increases the CR as shown on Table 3–13.
Gas: With a gas trap, the danger is in the inhaled poison it delivers. Traps employing gas usually have the never miss and onset
delay features (see below).
Liquid: Any trap that involves a danger of drowning (such as a
locked room filling with water or a patch of quicksand that characters can fall into) is in this category. Traps employing liquid usually have the never miss and onset delay features (see below).
Multiple Target: Traps with this feature can affect more than
one character.
Never Miss: When the entire dungeon wall moves to crush
you, your quick reflexes won’t help, since the wall can’t possibly
miss. A trap with this feature has neither an attack bonus nor a
saving throw to avoid, but it does have an onset delay (see below).
Most traps involving liquid or gas are of the never miss variety.
Onset Delay: An onset delay is the amount of time between
when the trap is sprung and when it deals damage. A never miss
trap always has an onset delay.

Poison: Traps that employ poison are deadlier than their nonpoisonous counterparts, so they have correspondingly higher
CRs. To determine the CR modifier for a given poison, consult
Table 3–13 (page 74). Only injury, contact, and inhaled poisons are
suitable for traps; ingested types are not.
Some traps, such as a table covered with contact poison, simply
deal the poison’s damage. Others, such as a poisoned arrow or
sword blade, deal damage with ranged or melee attacks as well.
Pit Spikes: Treat spikes at the bottom of a pit as daggers, each
with a +10 attack bonus. The damage bonus for each spike is +1 per
10 feet of pit depth (to a maximum of +5). Each character who falls
into the pit is attacked by 1d4 spikes. Pit spikes do not add to the
average damage of the trap (see Average Damage, page 75).
Pit Bottom: If something other than spikes waits at the bottom
of a pit, it’s best to treat that as a separate trap (see Multiple Traps,
page 75) with a location trigger that activates on any significant
impact, such as a falling character. Possibilities for pit bottom traps
include acid, monsters, and water.
Touch Attack: This feature applies to any trap that needs only a
successful touch attack (melee or ranged) to hit.

SAMPLE TRAPS
The following traps are suitable for protecting a dungeon, merchant guildhouse, or military complex. The costs listed for
mechanical traps are market prices; those for magic traps are raw
material costs. Caster level and class for the spells used to produce
the trap effects are provided in the entries for magic device traps
and spell traps. For all other spells used (in triggers, for example),
the caster level is assumed to be the minimum required.

CR 1 Traps
Basic Arrow Trap: CR 1; mechanical; proximity trigger;
manual reset; Atk +10 ranged (1d6/×3, arrow); Search DC 20; Disable Device DC 20. Market Price: 2,000 gp.
Camouflaged Pit Trap: CR 1; mechanical; location trigger;
manual reset; DC 20 Reflex save avoids; 10 ft. deep (1d6, fall);
Search DC 24; Disable Device DC 20. Market Price: 1,800 gp.
Deeper Pit Trap: CR 1; mechanical; location trigger; manual
reset; hidden switch bypass (Search DC 25); DC 15 Reflex save
avoids; 20 ft. deep (2d6, fall); multiple targets (first target in each
of two adjacent 5-ft. squares); Search DC 20; Disable Device DC 23.
Market Price: 1,300 gp.
Doorknob Smeared with Contact Poison: CR 1; mechanical;
touch trigger (attached), manual reset; poison (carrion crawler
brain juice, DC 13 Fortitude save resists, paralysis/0); Search DC
19; Disable Device DC 19. Market Price: 900 gp.
Fusillade of Darts: CR 1; mechanical; location trigger; manual
reset; Atk +10 ranged (1d4+1, dart); multiple targets (fires 1d4
darts at each target in two adjacent 5-ft. squares); Search DC 14;
Disable Device DC 20. Market Price: 500 gp.
Poison Dart Trap: CR 1; mechanical; location trigger; manual
reset; Atk +8 ranged (1d4 plus poison, dart); poison (bloodroot, DC

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VARIANT: WHAT DISABLING A DEVICE MEANS

70

So a character makes her Disable Device check against a trap. What does
that success do to the trap? With this variant rule, the answer to that
question depends on the amount by which the character beat the DC.
Check the paragraph below that corresponds to the margin of success.
Check Result = DC +0–3: The next time the trigger would spring the
trap, it doesn’t. After that, however, the trigger operates normally, and
another Disable Device check is required to disarm it again.
Check Result = DC +4–6: The character messed up the trap’s workings. It won’t function again until it’s reset. If it’s a trap that resets
automatically, use the next result below.

Check Result = DC +7–9: The character really broke the trap. It won’t
go off again until someone repairs it using the Craft (trapmaking) skill.
This repair costs 1d8×10% of the trap’s total construction cost.
Check Result = DC +10 or more: The character either broke the
trap (as above) or succeeded in adding or discovering a bypass
element. This latter option enables characters to either get past the
trap without triggering it or avoid its effect, but the trap remains
active. For example, a character who achieves this degree of success
on a Disable Device check could manage to prop open a springloaded trap so that it can’t fire, or could notice the niche in the wall
that provides refuge from the rolling boulder.

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Box of Brown Mold: CR 2; mechanical; touch trigger (opening the box); automatic reset; 5-ft. cold aura (3d6, cold nonlethal);
Search DC 22; Disable Device DC 16. Market Price: 3,000 gp.
Bricks from Ceiling: CR 2; mechanical; touch trigger; repair
reset; Atk +12 melee (2d6, bricks); multiple targets (all targets in
two adjacent 5-ft. squares); Search DC 20; Disable Device DC 20.
Market Price: 2,400 gp.
Burning Hands Trap: CR 2; magic device; proximity trigger
(alarm); automatic reset; spell effect (burning hands, 1st-level
wizard, 1d4 fire, DC 11 Reflex save half damage); Search DC 26;
Disable Device DC 26. Cost: 500 gp, 40 XP.
Camouflaged Pit Trap: CR 2; mechanical; location trigger;
manual reset; DC 20 Reflex save avoids; 20 ft. deep (2d6, fall); multiple targets (first target in each of two adjacent 5-ft. squares);
Search DC 24; Disable Device DC 19. Market Price: 3,400 gp.
Inflict Light Wounds Trap: CR 2; magic device; touch trigger;
automatic reset; spell effect (inflict light wounds, 1st-level cleric,
1d8+1, DC 11 Will save half damage); Search DC 26; Disable
Device DC 26. Cost: 500 gp, 40 XP.
Javelin Trap: CR 2; mechanical; location trigger; manual reset;
Atk +16 ranged (1d6+4, javelin); Search DC 20; Disable Device DC
18. Market Price: 4,800 gp.
Large Net Trap: CR 2; mechanical; location trigger; manual
reset; Atk +5 melee (see note); Search DC 20; Disable Device DC
25. Note: Characters in 10-ft. square are grappled by net (Str 18) if
they fail a DC 14 Reflex save. Market Price: 3,000 gp.
Pit Trap: CR 2; mechanical, location trigger; manual reset; DC
20 Reflex save avoids; 40 ft. deep (4d6, fall); Search DC 20; Disable
Device DC 20. Market Price: 2,000 gp.
Poison Needle Trap: CR 2; mechanical; touch trigger; repair
reset; lock bypass (Open Lock DC 30); Atk +17 melee (1 plus
poison, needle); poison (blue whinnis, DC 14 Fortitude save resists
(poison only), 1 Con/unconsciousness); Search DC 22; Disable
Device DC 17. Market Price: 4,720 gp.
Spiked Pit Trap: CR 2; mechanical; location trigger; automatic

CR 3 Traps
Burning Hands Trap: CR 3; magic device; proximity trigger
(alarm); automatic reset; spell effect (burning hands, 5th-level
wizard, 5d4 fire, DC 11 Reflex save half damage); Search DC 26;
Disable Device DC 26. Cost: 2,500 gp, 200 XP.
Camouflaged Pit Trap: CR 3; mechanical; location trigger;
manual reset; DC 20 Reflex save avoids; 30 ft. deep (3d6, fall); multiple targets (first target in each of two adjacent squares); Search
DC 24; Disable Device DC 18. Market Price: 4,800 gp.
Ceiling Pendulum: CR 3; mechanical; timed trigger; automatic reset; Atk +15 melee (1d12+8/×3, greataxe); Search DC 15;
Disable Device DC 27. Market Price: 14,100 gp.
Fire Trap: CR 3; spell; spell trigger; no reset; spell effect (fire trap,
3rd-level druid, 1d4+3 fire, DC 13 Reflex save half damage); Search
DC 27; Disable Device DC 27. Cost: 85 gp to hire NPC spellcaster.
Extended Bane Trap: CR 3; magic device; proximity trigger
(detect good); automatic reset; spell effect (extended bane, 3rd-level
cleric, DC 13 Will save negates); Search DC 27; Disable Device DC
27. Cost: 3,500 gp, 280 XP.
Ghoul Touch Trap: CR 3; magic device; touch trigger; automatic
reset; spell effect (ghoul touch, 3rd-level wizard, DC 13 Fortitude save
negates); Search DC 27; Disable Device DC 27. Cost: 3,000 gp, 240 XP.
Hail of Needles: CR 3; mechanical; location trigger; manual
reset; Atk +20 ranged (2d4); Search DC 22; Disable Device DC 22.
Market Price: 5,400 gp.
Melf ’s Acid Arrow Trap: CR 3; magic device; proximity trigger
(alarm); automatic reset; Atk +2 ranged touch; spell effect (Melf ’s
acid arrow, 3rd-level wizard, 2d4 acid/round for 2 rounds); Search
DC 27; Disable Device DC 27. Cost: 3,000 gp, 240 XP.
Pit Trap: CR 3; mechanical, location trigger; manual reset; DC
20 Reflex save avoids; 60 ft. deep (6d6, fall); Search DC 20; Disable
Device DC 20. Market Price: 3,000 gp.
Poisoned Arrow Trap: CR 3; mechanical; touch trigger;
manual reset; lock bypass (Open Lock DC 30); Atk +12 ranged
(1d8 plus poison, arrow); poison (Large monstrous scorpion
venom, DC 14 Fortitude save resists, 1d4 Con/1d4 Con); Search
DC 19; Disable Device DC 15. Market Price: 2,900 gp.
Spiked Pit Trap: CR 3; mechanical; location trigger; manual
reset; DC 20 Reflex save avoids; 20 ft. deep (2d6, fall); multiple targets (first target in each of two adjacent 5-ft. squares); pit spikes
(Atk +10 melee, 1d4 spikes per target for 1d4+2 each); Search DC
21; Disable Device DC 20. Market Price: 3,600 gp.
Stone Blocks from Ceiling: CR 3; mechanical; location trigger; repair reset; Atk +10 melee (4d6, stone blocks); Search DC 25;
Disable Device DC 20. Market Price: 5,400 gp.

ADVENTURES

CR 2 Traps

reset; DC 20 Reflex save avoids; 20 ft. deep (2d6, fall); multiple targets (first target in each of two adjacent 5-ft. squares); pit spikes
(Atk +10 melee, 1d4 spikes per target for 1d4+2 each); Search DC
18; Disable Device DC 15. Market Price: 1,600 gp.
Tripping Chain: CR 2; mechanical; location trigger; automatic
reset; multiple traps (tripping and melee attack); Atk +15 melee
touch (trip), Atk +15 melee (2d4+2, spiked chain); Search DC 15;
Disable Device DC 18. Market Price: 3,800 gp.
Note: This trap is really one CR 1 trap that trips and a second CR
1 trap that attacks with a spiked chain. If the tripping attack succeeds, a +4 bonus applies to the spiked chain attack because the
opponent is prone.
Well-Camouflaged Pit Trap: CR 2; mechanical; location trigger; repair reset; DC 20 Reflex save avoids; 10 ft. deep (1d6, fall);
Search DC 27; Disable Device DC 20. Market Price: 4,400 gp.

CHAPTER 3:

12 Fortitude save resists, 0/1d4 Con plus 1d3 Wis); Search DC 20;
Disable Device DC 18. Market Price: 700 gp.
Poison Needle Trap: CR 1; mechanical; touch trigger; manual
reset; Atk +8 ranged (1 plus greenblood oil poison); Search DC 22;
Disable Device DC 20. Market Price: 1,300 gp.
Portcullis Trap: CR 1; mechanical; location trigger; manual
reset; Atk +10 melee (3d6); Search DC 20; Disable Device DC 20.
Note: Damage applies only to those underneath the portcullis.
Portcullis blocks passageway. Market Price: 1,400 gp.
Razor-Wire across Hallway: CR 1; mechanical; location trigger; no reset; Atk +10 melee (2d6, wire); multiple targets (first
target in each of two adjacent 5-ft. squares); Search DC 22; Disable
Device DC 15. Market Price: 400 gp.
Rolling Rock Trap: CR 1; mechanical; location trigger; manual
reset; Atk +10 melee (2d6, rock); Search DC 20; Disable Device DC
22. Market Price: 1,400 gp.
Scything Blade Trap: CR 1; mechanical; location trigger; automatic reset; Atk +8 melee (1d8/×3); Search DC 21; Disable Device
DC 20. Market Price: 1,700 gp.
Spear Trap: CR 1; mechanical; location trigger; manual reset;
Atk +12 ranged (1d8/×3, spear); Search DC 20; Disable Device DC
20. Note: 200-ft. max range, target determined randomly from
those in its path. Market Price: 1,200 gp.
Swinging Block Trap: CR 1; mechanical; touch trigger;
manual reset; Atk +5 melee (4d6, stone block); Search DC 20; Disable Device DC 20. Market Price: 500 gp.
Wall Blade Trap: CR 1; mechanical; touch trigger; automatic
reset; hidden switch bypass (Search DC 25); Atk +10 melee
(2d4/×4, scythe); Search DC 22; Disable Device DC 22. Market
Price: 2,500 gp.

CR 4 Traps
Bestow Curse Trap: CR 4; magic device; touch trigger (detect
chaos); automatic reset; spell effect (bestow curse, 5th-level cleric,
DC 14 Will save negates); Search DC 28; Disable Device DC 28.
Cost: 8,000 gp, 640 XP.

71

ADVENTURES

CHAPTER 3:

Camouflaged Pit Trap: CR 4; mechanical; location trigger;
manual reset; DC 20 Reflex save avoids; 40 ft. deep (4d6, fall); multiple targets (first target in each of two adjacent 5-ft. squares);
Search DC 25; Disable Device DC 17. Market Price: 6,800 gp.
Collapsing Column: CR 4; mechanical; touch trigger
(attached); no reset; Atk +15 melee (6d6, stone blocks); Search DC
20; Disable Device DC 24. Market Price: 8,800 gp.
Glyph of Warding (Blast): CR 4; spell; spell trigger; no reset; spell
effect (glyph of warding [blast], 5th-level cleric, 2d8 acid, DC 14 Reflex
save half damage); multiple targets (all targets within 5 ft.); Search
DC 28; Disable Device DC 28. Cost: 350 gp to hire NPC spellcaster.
Lightning Bolt Trap: CR 4; magic device; proximity trigger
(alarm); automatic reset; spell effect (lightning bolt, 5th-level
wizard, 5d6 electricity, DC 14 Reflex save half damage); Search DC
28; Disable Device DC 28. Cost: 7,500 gp, 600 XP.
Pit Trap: CR 4; mechanical, location trigger; manual reset; DC
20 Reflex save avoids; 80 ft. deep (8d6, fall); Search DC 20; Disable
Device DC 20. Market Price: 4,000 gp.
Poisoned Dart Trap: CR 4; mechanical; location trigger; manual
reset; Atk +15 ranged (1d4+4 plus poison, dart); multiple targets (1
dart per target in a 10-ft.-by-10-ft. area); poison (Small monstrous
centipede poison, DC 10 Fortitude save resists, 1d2 Dex/1d2 Dex);
Search DC 21; Disable Device DC 22. Market Price: 12,090 gp.
Sepia Snake Sigil Trap: CR 4; spell; spell trigger; no reset; spell
effect (sepia snake sigil, 5th-level wizard, DC 14 Reflex save
negates); Search DC 28; Disable Device DC 28. Cost: 650 gp to hire
NPC spellcaster.
Spiked Pit Trap: CR 4; mechanical; location trigger; automatic
reset; DC 20 Reflex save avoids; 60 ft. deep (6d6, fall); pit spikes
(Atk +10 melee, 1d4 spikes per target for 1d4+5 each); Search DC
20; Disable Device DC 20. Market Price: 4,000 gp.
Wall Scythe Trap: CR 4; mechanical; location trigger; automatic reset; Atk +20 melee (2d4+8/×4, scythe); Search DC 21; Disable Device DC 18. Market Price: 17,200 gp.
Water-Filled Room Trap: CR 4; mechanical; location trigger;
automatic reset; multiple targets (all targets in a 10-ft.-by-10-ft.
room); never miss; onset delay (5 rounds); liquid; Search DC 17;
Disable Device DC 23. Market Price: 11,200 gp.
Wide-Mouth Spiked Pit Trap: CR 4; mechanical; location
trigger; manual reset; DC 20 Reflex save avoids; 20 ft. deep (2d6,
fall); multiple targets (first target in each of two adjacent 5-ft.
squares); pit spikes (Atk +10 melee, 1d4 spikes per target for 1d4+2
each); Search DC 18; Disable Device DC 25. Market Price: 7,200 gp.

CR 5 Traps

72

Camouflaged Pit Trap: CR 5; mechanical; location trigger;
manual reset; DC 20 Reflex save avoids; 50 ft. deep (5d6, fall); multiple targets (first target in each of two adjacent 5-ft. squares);
Search DC 25; Disable Device DC 17. Market Price: 8,500 gp.
Doorknob Smeared with Contact Poison: CR 5; mechanical;
touch trigger (attached); manual reset; poison (nitharit, DC 13 Fortitude save resists, 0/3d6 Con); Search DC 25; Disable Device DC
19. Market Price: 9,650 gp.
Falling Block Trap: CR 5; mechanical; location trigger; manual
reset; Atk +15 melee (6d6); multiple targets (can strike all characters in two adjacent specified squares); Search DC 20; Disable
Device DC 25. Market Price: 15,000 gp.
Fire Trap: CR 5; spell; spell trigger; no reset; spell effect (fire trap,
7th-level wizard, 1d4+7 fire, DC 16 Reflex save half damage);
Search DC 29; Disable Device DC 29. Cost: 305 gp to hire NPC
spellcaster.
Fireball Trap: CR 5; magic device; touch trigger; automatic reset;
spell effect (fireball, 8th-level wizard, 8d6 fire, DC 14 Reflex save
half damage); Search DC 28; Disable Device DC 28. Cost: 12,000 gp,
960 XP.
Flooding Room Trap: CR 5; mechanical; proximity trigger;
automatic reset; no attack roll necessary (see note below); Search

DC 20; Disable Device DC 25. Note: Room floods in 4 rounds (see
Drowning, page 304). Market Price: 17,500 gp.
Fusillade of Darts: CR 5; mechanical; location trigger; manual
reset; Atk +18 ranged (1d4+1, dart); multiple targets (1d8 darts per
target in a 10-ft.-by-10-ft. area); Search DC 19; Disable Device DC
25. Market Price: 18,000 gp.
Moving Executioner Statue: CR 5; mechanical; location trigger; automatic reset; hidden switch bypass (Search DC 25); Atk +16
melee (1d12+8/×3, greataxe); multiple targets (both arms attack);
Search DC 25; Disable Device DC 18. Market Price: 22,500 gp.
Phantasmal Killer Trap: CR 5; magic device; proximity trigger
(alarm covering the entire room); automatic reset; spell effect
(phantasmal killer, 7th-level wizard, DC 16 Will save for disbelief
and DC 16 Fort save for partial effect); Search DC 29; Disable
Device DC 29. Cost: 14,000 gp, 1,120 XP.
Pit Trap: CR 5; mechanical, location trigger; manual reset; DC
20 Reflex save avoids; 100 ft. deep (10d6, fall); Search DC 20; Disable Device DC 20. Market Price: 5,000 gp.
Poison Wall Spikes: CR 5; mechanical; location trigger;
manual reset; Atk +16 melee (1d8+4 plus poison, spike); multiple
targets (closest target in each of two adjacent 5-ft. squares); poison
(Medium monstrous spider venom, DC 12 Fortitude save resists,
1d4 Str/1d4 Str); Search DC 17; Disable Device DC 21. Market
Price: 12,650 gp.
Spiked Pit Trap: CR 5; mechanical; location trigger; manual
reset; DC 25 Reflex save avoids; 40 ft. deep (4d6, fall); multiple targets (first target in each of two adjacent 5-ft. squares); pit spikes
(Atk +10 melee, 1d4 spikes per target for 1d4+4 each); Search DC
21; Disable Device DC 20. Market Price: 13,500 gp.
Spiked Pit Trap (80 Ft. Deep): CR 5; mechanical; location trigger, manual reset; DC 20 Reflex save avoids; 80 ft. deep (8d6, fall),
pit spikes (Atk +10 melee, 1d4 spikes for 1d4+5 each); Search DC
20; Disable Device DC 20. Market Price: 5,000 gp.
Ungol Dust Vapor Trap: CR 5; mechanical; location trigger;
manual reset; gas; multiple targets (all targets in a 10-ft.-by-10-ft.
room); never miss; onset delay (2 rounds); poison (ungol dust, DC
15 Fortitude save resists, 1 Cha/1d6 Cha plus 1 Cha drain); Search
DC 20; Disable Device DC 16. Market Price: 9,000 gp.

CR 6 Traps
Built-to-Collapse Wall: CR 6; mechanical; proximity trigger;
no reset; Atk +20 melee (8d6, stone blocks); multiple targets (all
targets in a 10-ft.-by-10-ft. area); Search DC 14; Disable Device DC
16. Market Price: 15,000 gp.
Compacting Room: CR 6; mechanical; timed trigger; automatic reset; hidden switch bypass (Search DC 25); walls move
together (12d6, crush); multiple targets (all targets in a 10-ft.-by10-ft. room); never miss; onset delay (4 rounds); Search DC 20;
Disable Device DC 22. Market Price: 25,200 gp.
Flame Strike Trap: CR 6; magic device; proximity trigger (detect
magic); automatic reset; spell effect (flame strike, 9th-level cleric,
9d6 fire, DC 17 Reflex save half damage); Search DC 30; Disable
Device DC 30. Cost: 22,750 gp, 1,820 XP.
Fusillade of Spears: CR 6; mechanical; proximity trigger;
repair reset; Atk +21 ranged (1d8, spear); multiple targets (1d6
spears per target in a 10 ft.-by-10-ft. area); Search DC 26; Disable
Device DC 20. Market Price: 31,200 gp.
Glyph of Warding (Blast): CR 6; spell; spell trigger; no reset; spell
effect (glyph of warding [blast], 16th-level cleric, 8d8 sonic, DC 14
Reflex save half damage); multiple targets (all targets within 5 ft.);
Search DC 28; Disable Device DC 28. Cost: 680 gp to hire NPC
spellcaster.
Lightning Bolt Trap: CR 6; magic device; proximity trigger
(alarm); automatic reset; spell effect (lightning bolt, 10th-level
wizard, 10d6 electricity, DC 14 Reflex save half damage); Search
DC 28; Disable Device DC 28. Cost: 15,000 gp, 1,200 XP.
Spiked Blocks from Ceiling: CR 6; mechanical; location trig-

Acid Fog Trap: CR 7; magic device; proximity trigger (alarm);
automatic reset; spell effect (acid fog, 11th-level wizard, 2d6/round
acid for 11 rounds); Search DC 31; Disable Device DC 31. Cost:
33,000 gp, 2,640 XP.
Blade Barrier Trap: CR 7; magic device; proximity trigger
(alarm); automatic reset; spell effect (blade barrier, 11th-level cleric,
11d6 slashing, DC 19 Reflex save half damage); Search DC 31; Disable Device DC 31. Cost: 33,000 gp, 2,640 XP.
Burnt Othur Vapor Trap: CR 7; mechanical; location trigger;
repair reset; gas; multiple targets (all targets in a 10-ft.-by-10-ft.
room); never miss; onset delay (3 rounds); poison (burnt othur
fumes, DC 18 Fortitude save resists, 1 Con drain/3d6 Con); Search
DC 21; Disable Device DC 21. Market Price: 17,500 gp.
Chain Lightning Trap: CR 7; magic device; proximity trigger
(alarm); automatic reset; spell effect (chain lightning, 11th-level
wizard, 11d6 electricity to target nearest center of trigger area plus
5d6 electricity to each of up to eleven secondary targets, DC 19
Reflex save half damage); Search DC 31; Disable Device DC 31.
Cost: 33,000 gp, 2,640 XP.
Evard’s Black Tentacles Trap: CR 7; magic device; proximity trigger
(alarm); no reset; spell effect (Evard’s black tentacles, 7th-level wizard,
1d4+7 tentacles, Atk +7 melee [1d6+4, tentacle]); multiple targets
(up to six tentacles per target in each of two adjacent 5-ft. squares);
Search DC 29; Disable Device DC 29. Cost: 1,400 gp, 112 XP.
Fusillade of Greenblood Oil Darts: CR 7; mechanical; location trigger; manual reset; Atk +18 ranged (1d4+1 plus poison,
dart); poison (greenblood oil, DC 13 Fortitude save resists, 1 Con/
1d2 Con); multiple targets (1d8 darts per target in a 10-ft.-by-10-ft.
area); Search DC 25; Disable Device DC 25. Market Price: 33,000 gp.
Lock Covered in Dragon Bile: CR 7; mechanical; touch trigger (attached); no reset; poison (dragon bile, DC 26 Fortitude save
resists, 3d6 Str/0); Search DC 27; Disable Device DC 16. Market
Price: 11,300 gp.
Summon Monster VI Trap: CR 7; magic device; proximity trigger
(alarm); no reset; spell effect (summon monster VI, 11th-level wizard),
Search DC 31; Disable Device DC 31. Cost: 3,300 gp, 264 XP.
Water-Filled Room: CR 7; mechanical; location trigger;
manual reset; multiple targets (all targets in a 10-ft.-by-10-ft.
room); never miss; onset delay (3 rounds); water; Search DC 20;
Disable Device DC 25. Market Price: 21,000 gp.
Well-Camouflaged Pit Trap: CR 7; mechanical; location trigger; repair reset; DC 25 Reflex save avoids; 70 ft. deep (7d6, fall);
multiple targets (first target in each of two adjacent 5-ft. squares);
Search DC 27; Disable Device DC 18. Market Price: 24,500 gp.

Deathblade Wall Scythe: CR 8; mechanical; touch trigger;
manual reset; Atk +16 melee (2d4+8 plus poison, scythe); poison
(deathblade, DC 20 Fortitude save resists, 1d6 Con/2d6 Con);
Search DC 24; Disable Device DC 19. Market Price: 31,400 gp.
Destruction Trap: CR 8; magic device; touch trigger (alarm);
automatic reset; spell effect (destruction, 13th-level cleric, DC 20
Fortitude save for 10d6 damage); Search DC 32; Disable Device
DC 32. Cost: 45,500 gp, 3,640 XP.
Earthquake Trap: CR 8; magic device; proximity trigger (alarm);
automatic reset; spell effect (earthquake, 13th-level cleric, 65-ft.
radius, DC 15 or 20 Reflex save, depending on terrain); Search DC
32; Disable Device DC 32. Cost: 45,500 gp, 3,640 XP.
Insanity Mist Vapor Trap: CR 8; mechanical; location trigger;
repair reset; gas; never miss; onset delay (1 round); poison (insanity mist, DC 15 Fortitude save resists, 1d4 Wis/2d6 Wis); multiple
targets (all targets in a 10-ft.-by-10-ft. room); Search DC 25; Disable
Device DC 20. Market Price: 23,900 gp.
Melf ’s Acid Arrow Trap: CR 8; magic device; visual trigger (true
seeing); automatic reset; multiple traps (two simultaneous Melf ’s
acid arrow traps); Atk +9 ranged touch and +9 ranged touch; spell
effect (Melf ’s acid arrow, 18th-level wizard, 2d4 acid damage for 7
rounds); Search DC 27; Disable Device DC 27. Cost: 83,500 gp,
4,680 XP.
Note: This trap is really two CR 6 Melf ’s acid arrow traps that fire
simultaneously, using the same trigger and reset.
Power Word Stun Trap: CR 8; magic device; touch trigger; no
reset; spell effect (power word stun, 13th-level wizard), Search DC
32; Disable Device DC 32. Cost: 4,550 gp, 364 XP.
Prismatic Spray Trap: CR 8; magic device; proximity trigger
(alarm); automatic reset; spell effect (prismatic spray, 13th-level
wizard, DC 20 Reflex, Fortitude, or Will save, depending on
effect); Search DC 32; Disable Device DC 32. Cost: 45,500 gp,
3,640 XP.
Reverse Gravity Trap: CR 8; magic device; proximity trigger
(alarm, 10-ft. area); automatic reset; spell effect (reverse gravity,
13th-level wizard, 6d6 fall [upon hitting the ceiling of the 60-ft.high room], then 6d6 fall [upon falling 60 ft. to the floor when the
spell ends], DC 20 Reflex save avoids damage); Search DC 32; Disable Device DC 32. Cost: 45,500 gp, 3,640 XP.
Well-Camouflaged Pit Trap: CR 8; mechanical; location trigger; repair reset; DC 20 Reflex save avoids; 100 ft. deep (10d6, fall);
Search DC 27; Disable Device DC 18. Market Price: 16,000 gp.
Word of Chaos Trap: CR 8; magic device; proximity trigger
(detect law); automatic reset; spell effect (word of chaos, 13th-level
cleric); Search DC 32; Disable Device DC 32. Cost: 46,000 gp,
3,680 XP.

ADVENTURES

CR 7 Traps

CR 8 Traps

CHAPTER 3:

ger; repair reset; Atk +20 melee (6d6, spikes); multiple targets (all
targets in a 10-ft.-by-10-ft. area); Search DC 24; Disable Device DC
20. Market Price: 21,600 gp.
Spiked Pit Trap (100 Ft. Deep): CR 6; mechanical; location
trigger, manual reset; DC 20 Reflex save avoids; 100 ft. deep (10d6,
fall); pit spikes (Atk +10 melee, 1d4 spikes per target for 1d4+5
each); Search DC 20; Disable Device DC 20. Market Price: 6,000 gp.
Whirling Poison Blades: CR 6; mechanical; timed trigger; automatic reset; hidden lock bypass (Search DC 25, Open Lock DC 30);
Atk +10 melee (1d4+4/19–20 plus poison, dagger); poison (purple
worm poison, DC 24 Fortitude save resists, 1d6 Str/2d6 Str); multiple targets (one target in each of three preselected 5-ft. squares);
Search DC 20; Disable Device DC 20. Market Price: 30,200 gp.
Wide-Mouth Pit Trap: CR 6; mechanical; location trigger,
manual reset; DC 25 Reflex save avoids; 40 ft. deep (4d6, fall); multiple targets (all targets within a 10-ft.-by-10-ft. area); Search DC
26; Disable Device DC 25. Market Price: 28,200 gp.
Wyvern Arrow Trap: CR 6; mechanical; proximity trigger;
manual reset; Atk +14 ranged (1d8 plus poison, arrow); poison
(wyvern poison, DC 17 Fortitude save resists, 2d6 Con/2d6 Con);
Search DC 20; Disable Device DC 16. Market Price: 17,400 gp.

CR 9 Traps
Drawer Handle Smeared with Contact Poison: CR 9;
mechanical; touch trigger (attached); manual reset; poison (black
lotus extract, DC 20 Fortitude save resists, 3d6 Con/3d6 Con);
Search DC 18; Disable Device DC 26. Market Price: 21,600 gp.
Dropping Ceiling: CR 9; mechanical; location trigger; repair
reset; ceiling moves down (12d6, crush); multiple targets (all targets in a 10-ft.-by-10-ft. room); never miss; onset delay (1 round);
Search DC 20; Disable Device DC 16. Market Price: 12,600 gp.
Incendiary Cloud Trap: CR 9; magic device; proximity trigger
(alarm); automatic reset; spell effect (incendiary cloud, 15th-level
wizard, 4d6/round for 15 rounds, DC 22 Reflex save half damage);
Search DC 33; Disable Device DC 33. Cost: 60,000 gp, 4,800 XP.
Wide-Mouth Pit Trap: CR 9; mechanical; location trigger;
manual reset; DC 25 Reflex save avoids; 100 ft. deep (10d6, fall);
multiple targets (all targets within a 10-ft.-by-10-ft. area); Search
DC 25; Disable Device DC 25. Market Price: 40,500 gp.
Wide-Mouth Spiked Pit with Poisoned Spikes: CR 9;
mechanical; location trigger; manual reset; hidden lock bypass

73

(Search DC 25, Open Lock DC 30); DC 20 Reflex save avoids; 70 ft.
deep (7d6, fall); multiple targets (all targets within a 10-ft.-by-10-ft.
area); pit spikes (Atk +10 melee, 1d4 spikes per target for 1d4+5
plus poison each); poison (giant wasp poison, DC 14 Fortitude save
resists, 1d6 Dex/1d6 Dex); Search DC 20; Disable Device DC 20.
Market Price: 11,910 gp.

ADVENTURES

CHAPTER 3:

CR 10 Traps
Crushing Room: CR 10; mechanical; location trigger; automatic reset; walls move together (16d6, crush); multiple targets
(all targets in a 10-ft.-by-10-ft. room); never miss; onset delay (2
rounds); Search DC 22; Disable Device DC 20. Market Price:
29,000 gp.
Crushing Wall Trap: CR 10; mechanical; location trigger; automatic reset; no attack roll required (18d6, crush); Search DC 20;
Disable Device DC 25. Market Price: 25,000 gp.
Energy Drain Trap: CR 10; magic device; visual trigger (true
seeing); automatic reset; Atk +8 ranged touch; spell effect (energy
drain, 17th-level wizard, 2d4 negative levels for 24 hours, DC 23
Fortitude save negates); Search DC 34; Disable Device DC 34. Cost:
124,000 gp, 7,920 XP.
Forcecage and Summon Monster VII trap: CR 10; magic device;
proximity trigger (alarm); automatic reset; multiple traps (one
forcecage trap and one summon monster VII trap that summons a
hamatula); spell effect (forcecage, 13th-level wizard), spell effect
(summon monster VII, 13th-level wizard, hamatula); Search DC 32;
Disable Device DC 32. Cost: 241,000 gp, 7,280 XP.
Note: This trap is really one CR 8 trap that creates a forcecage and
a second CR 8 trap that summons a hamatula in the same area. If
both succeed, the hamatula appears inside the forcecage. These
effects are independent of each other.
Poisoned Spiked Pit Trap: CR 10; mechanical; location trigger; manual reset; hidden lock bypass (Search DC 25, Open Lock
DC 30); DC 20 Reflex save avoids; 50 ft. deep (5d6, fall); multiple
targets (first target in each of two adjacent 5-ft. squares); pit spikes
(Atk +10 melee, 1d4 spikes per target for 1d4+5 plus poison each);
poison (purple worm poison, DC 24 Fortitude save resists, 1d6
Str/2d6 Str); Search DC 16; Disable Device DC 25. Market Price:
19,700 gp.
Wail of the Banshee Trap: CR 10; magic device; proximity trigger
(alarm); automatic reset; spell effect (wail of the banshee, 17th-level
wizard, DC 23 Fortitude save negates); multiple targets (up to 17
creatures); Search DC 34; Disable Device DC 34. Cost: 76,500 gp,
6,120 XP.

DESIGNING A TRAP

74

Traps have long been part of the DM’s arsenal, but by using the
Craft (trapmaking) skill, player characters can design unique traps
to improve the defenses of their hideouts and fortresses. If one of
your players wants to have his character design and build a particular trap (and you want to go along with the idea), you can take the
player through the process described in this section.
You can also make use of these trapmaking rules to develop
your own special traps to spring on unwary PCs.
Mechanical Traps: Designing a mechanical trap is somewhat
simpler for a DM than it is for a player character, because you don’t
have to worry about constraints such as making Craft (trapmaking) checks and having the necessary amount of cash on hand.
Simply select the elements you want the trap to have and add up
the adjustments to the trap’s Challenge Rating that those elements
require (see Table 3–13) to arrive at the trap’s final CR.
PC-Designed Mechanical Traps: If a player character wants to
design and build a mechanical trap (and if you go along with the
idea), the first step is for the player to describe his idea. Assign the
appropriate characteristics, making whatever adjustments to the
cost of the trap those elements require, and tell the player how
much it will cost to craft the trap. (He may subsequently decide to

remove or change some elements to raise or lower the cost.) When
you and the player have agreed on what elements the trap contains, you can determine the CR of the trap, and from that number
you can derive the DC of the Craft (trapmaking) checks the character must make to construct the trap.
Magic Traps: As with mechanical traps, you don’t have to do
anything other than decide what elements you want and then
determine the CR of the resulting trap (see Table 3–14).
PC-Designed Magic Traps: If a player character wants to design
and construct a magic trap, he must have the Craft Wondrous Item
feat. In addition, he must be able to cast the spell or spells that the
trap requires—or, failing that, he must be able to hire an NPC to
cast the spells for him (see NPC Spellcasting, page 107). When
you and the player have agreed on what spells and other elements
the trap contains, you can determine the cost of the raw materials
for the trap and the CR of the trap.

Table 3–13: CR Modifiers for Mechanical Traps
Feature
CR Modifier
Search DC
15 or lower
–1
25–29
+1
30 or higher
+2
Disable Device DC
15 or lower
–1
25–29
+1
30 or higher
+2
Reflex Save DC (Pit or Other Save-Dependent Trap)
15 or lower
–1
16–24
—
25–29
+1
30 or higher
+2
Attack Bonus (Melee or Ranged Attack Trap)
+0 or lower
–2
+1 to +5
–1
+6 to +14
—
+15 to +19
+1
+20 to +24
+2
Damage/Effect
Average damage
+1/7 points*
Miscellaneous Features
Alchemical device
Level of spell mimicked
Liquid
+5
Multiple target
+1 (or 0 if never miss)
Onset delay 1 round
+3
Onset delay 2 rounds
+2
Onset delay 3 rounds
+1
Onset delay 4+ rounds
–1
Poison
CR of poison (see below)
Black adder venom
+1
Large scorpion venom
+3
Black lotus extract
+8
Malyss root paste
+3
Bloodroot
+1
Medium spider venom
+2
Blue whinnis
+1
Nitharit
+4
Burnt othur fumes
+6
Purple worm poison
+4
Carrion crawler brain juice +1
Sassone leaf residue
+3
Deathblade
+5
Shadow essence
+3
Dragon bile
+6
Small centipede poison
+1
Giant wasp poison
+3
Terinav root
+5
Greenblood oil
+1
Ungol dust
+3
Insanity mist
+4
Wyvern poison
+5
Pit spikes
+1
Touch attack
+1
* Rounded to the nearest multiple of 7 (round up for an average that
lies exactly between two numbers). For example, a trap that deals
2d8 points of damage (an average of 9 points) rounds down to 7,
while one that does 3d6 points of damage (an average of 10.5)
rounds up to 14.

Challenge Rating of a Trap

Table 3–15: Cost Modifiers for Mechanical Traps

Feature
Highest-level spell

CR Modifier
+ Spell level OR
+1 per 7 points of average
damage per round*

*See the note following Table 3–13.

Mechanical Trap Cost
The base cost of a mechanical trap is 1,000 gp. Apply all the modifiers from Table 3–15 for the various features you’ve added to the
trap to get the modified base cost.
The final cost is equal to (modified base cost × Challenge
Rating) + extra costs. The minimum cost for a mechanical trap is
(CR × 100) gp.
After you’ve multiplied the modified base cost by the Challenge
Rating, add the price of any alchemical items or poison you incorporated into the trap. If the trap uses one of these elements and
has an automatic reset, multiply the poison or alchemical item
cost by 20 to provide an adequate supply of doses.
Multiple Traps: If a trap is really two or more connected traps,
determine the final cost of each separately, then add those values
together. This holds for both multiple dependent and multiple
independent traps (see the previous section).

Magic Device Trap Cost
Building a magic device trap involves the expenditure of experience points as well as gold pieces, and requires the services of a
spellcaster. Table 3–16 summarizes the cost information for magic
device traps. If the trap uses more than one spell (for instance, a
sound or visual trigger spell in addition to the main spell effect),
the builder must pay for them all (except alarm, which is free
unless it must be cast by an NPC; see below).

ADVENTURES

Table 3–14: CR Modifiers for Magic Traps

Feature
Cost Modifier
Trigger Type
Location
—
Proximity
+1,000 gp
Touch
—
Touch (attached)
–100 gp
Timed
+1,000 gp
Reset Type
No reset
–500 gp
Repair
–200 gp
Manual
—
Automatic
+500 gp (or 0 if trap has timed trigger)
Bypass Type
Lock
+100 gp (Open Lock DC 30)
Hidden switch
+200 gp (Search DC 25)
Hidden lock
+300 gp (Open Lock DC 30, Search DC 25)
Search DC
19 or lower
–100 gp × (20 – DC)
20
—
21 or higher
+200 gp × (DC – 20)
Disable Device DC
19 or lower
–100 gp × (20 – DC)
20
—
21 or higher
+200 gp × (DC – 20)
Reflex Save DC (Pit or Other Save-Dependent Trap)
19 or lower
–100 gp × (20 – DC)
20
—
21 or higher
+300 gp × (DC – 20)
Attack Bonus (Melee or Ranged Attack Trap)
+9 or lower
–100 gp × (10 – bonus)
+10
—
+11 or higher
+200 gp × (bonus – 10)
Damage Bonus
High strength rating +100 gp × bonus (max +4)
(ranged attack trap)
High Strength bonus +100 gp × bonus (max +8)
(melee attack trap)
Miscellaneous Features
Never miss
+1,000 gp
Poison
Cost of poison* (see Table 8–3, page 297)
Alchemical item
Cost of item* (see Table 7–8, page 128 of the
Player’s Handbook)
* Multiply cost by 20 if trap features automatic reset.

CHAPTER 3:

To calculate the Challenge Rating of a trap, add all the CR modifiers (see Table 3–13 for mechanical traps, Table 3–14 for magic
traps) to the base CR for the trap type.
Mechanical Trap: The base CR for a mechanical trap is 0. If
your final CR is 0 or lower, add features until you get a CR of 1 or
higher.
Magic Trap: For a spell trap or magic device trap, the base CR is
1. The highest-level spell used modifies the CR (see Table 3–14).
Average Damage: If a trap (either mechanical or magic) does
hit point damage, calculate the average damage for a successful hit
and round that value to the nearest multiple of 7. Use this value to
adjust the Challenge Rating of the trap, as indicated on Table 3–13
or Table 3–14. Damage from poisons and pit spikes does not count
toward this value, but damage from a high strength rating and
extra damage from multiple attacks does. For example, if a trap
fires 1d4 darts at each target, the average damage is the average
number of darts × the average damage per dart, rounded to the
nearest multiple of 7, or 2.5 darts × 2.5 points of damage = 6.25
points, which rounds to 7.
For a magic trap, only one modifier applies to the CR—either
the level of the highest-level spell used in the trap, or the average
damage figure, whichever is larger.
Multiple Traps: If a trap is really two or more connected traps
that affect approximately the same area, determine the CR of each
one separately.
Multiple Dependent Traps: If one trap depends on the success of
the other (that is, you can avoid the second trap altogether by not
falling victim to the first), they must be treated as separate traps.
Multiple Independent Traps: If two or more traps act independently (that is, none depends on the success of another to activate),
use their CRs to determine their combined Encounter Level as
though they were monsters, according to Table 3–1 (page 49). The
resulting Encounter Level is the CR for the combined traps.

The costs derived from Table 3–16 assume that the builder is
casting the necessary spells himself (or perhaps some other PC
is providing the spells for free). If an NPC spellcaster must be
hired to cast them, see Table 7–8: Goods and Services, page 128 of
the Player’s Handbook, for these costs.
A magic device trap takes one day to construct per 500 gp of
its cost.

Table 3–16: Cost Modifiers for Magic Device Traps
Feature
Alarm spell used in trigger
One-Shot Trap
Each spell used in trap
Material components
XP components
Automatic Reset Trap
Each spell used in trap
Material components
XP components

Cost Modifier
—
+50 gp × caster level × spell level,
+4 XP × caster level × spell level
+ Cost of all material components
+ Total of XP components × 5 gp
+500 gp × caster level × spell level,
+40 XP × caster level × spell level
+ Cost of all material components
× 100 gp
+ Total of XP components × 500 gp

75

Spell Trap Cost
A spell trap has a cost only if the builder must hire an NPC spellcaster to cast it. See Table 7–8: Goods and Services, page 128 of the
Player’s Handbook, for these costs.

Craft DCs for Mechanical Traps
Once you know the Challenge Rating of a trap that a PC wants to
design and build, determine the Craft (trapmaking) DC by referring to the table and the modifiers given below.

lakes, and even seas teem with all sorts of fish, water mammals,
and aquatic reptiles.
Over the generations, dungeon animals have developed darkvision in order to survive. They have adapted to their environment, and now they thrive in the dark confines of caves and passages. They feed on mold, fungi, or each other. Because of the lack
of sunlight, many species have become entirely white, while
others have evolved a black coloration to hide in the darkness.

ADVENTURES

CHAPTER 3:

Slimes, Molds, and Fungi
Trap CR
1–3
4–6
7–10

Base Craft (Trapmaking) DC
20
25
30

Additional Components
Proximity trigger
Automatic reset

Modifier to Craft
(Trapmaking) DC
+5
+5

Making the Checks: To determine how much progress a character makes on building a trap each week, that character makes a
Craft (trapmaking) check. Page 70 of the Player’s Handbook contains
details on Craft checks and the circumstances that can affect them.

DUNGEON ECOLOGY

An inhabited dungeon is an environment in and of itself. The creatures that live there need to eat, drink, breathe, and sleep just as
the creatures of the forest or the plains do. Predators need prey.
Creatures living in the dungeon need to be able to get around.
Locked doors, or even doors that require hands to open, can prevent creatures from getting to food or water.
Consider these factors when designing a dungeon you want the
players to believe in. If the environment doesn’t have some logic
behind it, the PCs can’t make decisions based on reasoning while
adventuring there. For example, upon finding a pool of fresh
water in the dungeon, a character should be able to make the
assumption that many of the creatures inhabiting the place come
to that spot often. Thus, the PCs could wait in ambush for a particular creature that they’re after. Bits of faulty dungeon logic, such as
all the doors in a dungeon being locked when the dungeon is
home to many creatures, destroy any chance of verisimilitude.

DUNGEON ANIMALS

76

Not everything that lives in a dungeon is a monster. Other creatures inhabit these unlit labyrinths as well.
Creepy Crawlers: Insects, spiders, grubs, and worms of all
kinds live in the dark recesses of dungeons. They don’t present a
real threat, but they do provide food for predators and scavengers
in the dungeon—which in turn pose a threat to adventurers.
Rats: Rats make up an important part of any dungeon ecology.
These omnivorous rodents serve as the staple for most dungeon
predators and scavengers. In huge swarms, they become a threat
themselves.
Bats: Like rats, bats are found throughout any dungeon with
access to outside air. Although normal bats aren’t dangerous, a
swarm of bats can obscure vision and hamper the actions of dungeon delvers—particularly spellcasting.
Other Animals: Small creatures such as badgers and ferrets or
large omnivores such as bears and apes may take to a full-time (or
almost full-time) subterranean existence in a world filled with
dungeons and caverns. Predatory animals such as tigers, wolves,
and snakes follow their prey down into the dungeons and remain,
becoming a part of the ecology. Deep dungeon delvers have
brought back stories of colossal caverns far underground with
flocks of birds flying about. And of course underground streams,

In a dungeon’s damp, dark recesses, molds and fungi thrive. While
some plants and fungi are monsters (see the Monster Manual), and
other slime, mold, and fungus is just normal, innocuous stuff, a
few varieties are dangerous dungeon encounters. For purposes of
spells and other special effects, all slimes, molds, and fungi are
treated as plants. Like traps, dangerous slimes and molds have
CRs, and characters earn XP for encountering them.
A form of glistening organic sludge coats almost anything that
remains in the damp and dark for too long. This kind of slime,
though it might be repulsive, is not dangerous.
Molds and fungi flourish in dark, cool, damp places. While some
are as inoffensive as the normal dungeon slime, others are quite
dangerous. Mushrooms, puffballs, yeasts, mildew, and other sorts
of bulbous, fibrous, or flat patches of fungi can be found throughout most dungeons. They are usually inoffensive, and some are
even edible (though most are unappealing or odd-tasting).
Green Slime (CR 4): This dungeon peril is a dangerous variety
of normal slime. Green slime devours flesh and organic materials
on contact and is even capable of dissolving metal. Bright green,
wet, and sticky, it clings to walls, floors, and ceilings in patches,
reproducing as it consumes organic matter. It drops from walls
and ceilings when it detects movement (and possible food) below.
A single 5-foot square of green slime deals 1d6 points of Constitution damage per round while it devours flesh. On the first
round of contact, the slime can be scraped off a creature (most
likely destroying the scraping device), but after that it must be
frozen, burned, or cut away (dealing damage to the victim as
well). Anything that deals cold or fire damage, sunlight, or a
remove disease spell destroys a patch of green slime. Against
wood or metal, green slime deals 2d6 points of damage per
round, ignoring metal’s hardness but not that of wood. It does
not harm stone.
Dwarves consider green slime to be one of the worst hazards
of mining and underground construction. They have their own
ways of burning it out of infested areas, methods that they say are
thorough. “If you don’t do it proper, the stuff comes right back,”
they claim.
Yellow Mold (CR 6): If disturbed, a 5-foot square of this mold
bursts forth with a cloud of poisonous spores. All within 10 feet of
the mold must make a DC 15 Fortitude save or take 1d6 points of
Constitution damage. Another DC 15 Fortitude save is required 1
minute later—even by those who succeeded on the first save—to
avoid taking 2d6 points of Constitution damage. Fire destroys
yellow mold, and sunlight renders it dormant.
Brown Mold (CR 2): Brown mold feeds on warmth, drawing
heat from anything around it. It normally comes in patches 5 feet
in diameter, and the temperature is always cold in a 30-foot radius
around it. Living creatures within 5 feet of it take 3d6 points of
nonlethal cold damage. Fire brought within 5 feet of brown mold
causes it to instantly double in size. Cold damage, such as from a
cone of cold, instantly destroys it.
Phosphorescent Fungus (No CR): This strange underground
fungus grows in clumps that look almost like stunted shrubbery.
Drow elves cultivate it for food and light. It gives off a soft violet
glow that illuminates underground caverns and passages as well
as a candle does. Rare patches of fungus illuminate as well as a
torch does.

WANDERING MONSTERS

As the adventurers explore a dungeon, make rolls to see if they
encounter wandering monsters. Use wandering monster rolls to
add an unpredictable element to a dungeon delve, to encourage
characters to keep moving, and to put a price on being noisy. The
exact formula for when you roll for wandering monsters is up to
you. Generally, the chance is 10% for a wandering monster to
show up when certain conditions are met.
When a Certain Amount of Time Has Passed: Making one roll per
hour is typical. You can roll more often in heavily populated areas,
up to as often as once every 10 minutes. If you’re not already tracking time in the dungeon and you don’t want to start, roll for wandering monsters when the characters are doing anything that
takes a long time (such as taking 20 while searching a room for
secret doors) instead of keeping track of the clock.
When Characters Make Noise: Breaking a door or having a typical
fight counts as making noise. Breaking a door and then having a
fight right away counts as one instance of noise, so it’s one roll.
Getting into a loud argument, knocking over a statue, and running
up and down stairs in full kit at top speed are other actions that
might call for a wandering monster roll.
In High-Traffic Areas: Deciding what constitutes a high-traffic
area is up to you. You can roll every time the characters enter a
new corridor, provided such a corridor makes it easy for creatures
to get to and fro and thus sees a lot of traffic. Other areas, such as
pools of fresh water, might also attract many creatures.
In Cleared-Out Areas: If the PCs have cleared out part of the dungeon, then you can roll for wandering monsters as they travel
through a previously cleared area to an uncleared area. After all,
creatures spread out to fill a vacuum, claiming abandoned territory as their own.
When Leaving the Dungeon: While you have every right to roll
for wandering monsters as the party is leaving the dungeon, you
might decide not to. The characters generally make good time as
they head for the surface, and they’re usually taking a route they
have used on their way in, so it’s reasonable for the chance for
wandering monsters to go down. Also, if the players know that the
characters might face an extra encounter on the way home, they
tend to break off their exploration when they feel they can still
handle another encounter, causing them to act more cautiously
than they want to or than you may want them to.

Monsters Encountered
In a sprawling, random dungeon, you can simply use the random
dungeon encounter tables (pages 79–81) to determine which
monsters wander by. Reroll if the result would be a stationary creature or one unlikely to wander. In a smaller or special dungeon,
make your own random encounter tables.
The entries on a customized wandering monster table can indicate individual monsters or groups of monsters rather than kinds
of monsters. For example, the entry “Large monstrous scorpion”
could mean a particular scorpion that lives in this dungeon rather
than a random scorpion from an indefinitely large population of

Wandering Monster Chance = 10%
Make a roll on d% in the following circumstances.
• Every hour the characters are in the dungeon.
• When the characters make noise.
• In high-traffic areas.
You may decide to add or omit rolls in the following circumstances.
• In cleared-out areas of the dungeon.
• While the characters are leaving the dungeon.

similar scorpions. That way, once the characters have killed that
scorpion, they can’t encounter it again. Creatures on a customized
table could also have lairs keyed on the dungeon map, so that
adventurers who kill a creature while it’s wandering would later
find its lair empty. Similarly, those who kill it in its lair would
never encounter it wandering.
In the same way that you can invent the denizens of specific
dungeon rooms rather than determining them randomly, you can
invent specific wandering monsters. These could include monsters that escaped from the PCs before (or that the PCs escaped
from). Indeed, you can replace the idea of the wandering monster
with a random event instead. The characters could hear fighting in
the distance, stumble across random clues to the dungeon’s past,
or become subject to strange, fluctuating magical auras in place of
encountering a wandering monster.

ADVENTURES

Wandering Monster Rolls

Wandering Monster Summary

CHAPTER 3:

While the adventurers are exploring the dungeon, the light of
their lanterns attracts the attention of hungry dire weasels, who
come to see if they can catch some soft and juicy things to eat. On
another delve, a carrion crawler finds them and follows them, out
of sight. When it hears a fight, it scrambles up from behind and
tries to make off with a character who has fallen in combat. On yet
another expedition, the party meets another party of adventurers.
If the two groups can work together, they can exchange vital
information, trade valuable items, and possibly even work
together. The meeting, however, could just as easily turn into a
nasty fight. Wandering monsters such as these add unpredictability and action to dungeon adventures.

Wandering Monsters’ Treasure
Overall, wandering monsters don’t have as much treasure as monsters encountered in their lairs. When NPCs are encountered as
wandering monsters, their gear is their treasure. Intelligent wandering monsters might (50% chance) have a treasure whose level
is equal to the dungeon level. Unintelligent monsters don’t have
treasure. A dire weasel’s den might be littered with the valuables of
creatures it has killed, but it doesn’t carry that stuff around with it.
Since wandering monsters have less treasure than monsters in
their lairs or homes, characters typically try to minimize their
encounters with wandering monsters.

RANDOM DUNGEONS

This section tells you how to generate dungeons randomly, from
the first door to the great red dragon and its massive treasure
hoard on the lowest, most dangerous level.

DUNGEON LEVEL
Some dungeons are a series of levels or floors, each beneath the
one above, with more dangerous levels found lower down and
safer ones nearer the surface. For such dungeons, the floor nearest
the surface can be 1st level (EL 1) and each successively deeper
level can be one dungeon level higher. (The second one down
would be 2nd level, the third one 3rd level, and so forth.)
The term “level” as it pertains to dungeons measures how dangerous the dungeon (or any other adventure area) is at a particular
location. Generally, a party of characters should adventure in areas
whose level matches their party level (though large groups can handle
tougher areas and small groups might need to stay in easier areas).

THE MAP AND THE KEY
Once you have decided the level of your dungeon (or the part of it
you’re creating, if it has multiple levels), draw a map on graph
paper (or any other paper that suits you). Determine the general
wall and floor types—masonry, hewn stone, natural caves, and so
on, as you draw the map. The map should show rooms, corridors,
and doors. If you plan to make a sprawling dungeon of enormous
size, you don’t need to map it all at once.
You also need a separate sheet of paper for the map’s key. The
key describes the dungeon.

77

ADVENTURES

CHAPTER 3:

Table 3–17: Random Door Types
d%
01–08
09
10–23
24
25–29
30
31–35
36
37–44
45
46–49
50
51–55
56
57–64
65
66–69
70
71
72
73–75
76
77–79
80
81
82
83–85
86
87–89
90
91–93

Type (DC to break)
Wooden, simple, unlocked
Wooden, simple, unlocked and trapped
Wooden, simple, stuck (13)
Wooden, simple, stuck (13) and trapped
Wooden, simple, locked (15)
Wooden, simple, locked (15) and trapped
Wooden, good, unlocked
Wooden, good, unlocked and trapped
Wooden, good, stuck (18)
Wooden, good, stuck (18) and trapped
Wooden, good, locked (18)
Wooden, good, locked (18) and trapped
Wooden, strong, unlocked
Wooden, strong, unlocked and trapped
Wooden, strong, stuck (23)
Wooden, strong, stuck (23) and trapped
Wooden, strong, locked (25)
Wooden, strong, locked (25) and trapped
Stone, unlocked
Stone, unlocked and trapped
Stone, stuck (28)
Stone, stuck (28) and trapped
Stone, locked (28)
Stone, locked (28) and trapped
Iron, unlocked
Iron, unlocked and trapped
Iron, stuck (28)
Iron, stuck (28) and trapped
Iron, locked (28)
Iron, locked (28) and trapped
Door slides to one side rather than opening normally.
Reroll type (ignoring rolls of 91+). Add +1 to break DC.
94–96
Door slides down rather than opening normally.
Reroll type (ignoring rolls of 91+). Add +1 to break DC.
97–99
Door slides up rather than opening normally.
Reroll type (ignoring rolls of 91+). Add +2 to break DC.
100
Door magically reinforced.
Reroll type (ignoring rolls of 91+). Break DC is 30 for
wooden and 40 for stone or iron doors.
Trapped: Roll on Table 3–19: Random Traps CR 1–3, or Table 3–20:
Random Traps CR 4–6, or Table 3–21: Random Traps CR 7–10 to
determine the nature of the trap, then refer to the trap descriptions on
pages 70–74.

First, create the special parts of your dungeon. These could be
rooms with your favorite monsters and treasures, devious traps,
strange rooms with magic pools or enchanted statues, mysteries
and enigmas, or anything unusual you want to include. When
you invent the contents of a room, describe it in the key, give it a
number, and then put that number on the map to indicate where
those features are found. To determine what sort of door (or
doors) a room will have, you can roll d% and refer to Table 3–17:
Random Door Types or simply select a type from that list.
Next, you can fill out the rest of the dungeon, either by deciding
what goes in each room or determining it randomly. If you determine it randomly, roll on Table 3–18: Random Room Contents for
each room. The results you get will lead you to other random
tables here and in other chapters.
You can roll for each door ahead of time and record the
results on your key, or just roll for each door randomly as you
play. If you like, you can even start with a blank map and roll
door types and room contents as the player characters explore,
one room at a time.

78

RANDOM DUNGEON ENCOUNTERS
This section provides you with a way to generate dungeon
encounters randomly. You can also use the tables in this section
simply as lists from which you choose the encounters you want to
put in your dungeon.
The dungeon encounters tables given here offer a wide range of
possibilities, but even so they represent only a small fraction of the
creatures (and combinations of creatures) that would make an
appropriate encounter at a certain level within the dungeon. By
using the rules about Challenge Ratings and Encounter Levels
(see page 48), you could design your own encounters to supplement or replace the ones on these tables.

Using the Tables
To generate a random dungeon encounter, follow these steps:
1. Determine the dungeon level (see above) that you want to
generate the encounter for.
2. Roll d% and refer to the appropriate dungeon encounters
table (1st-Level through 20th-Level) to see what creature or
creatures make up the encounter. In some cases, this roll may
direct you to roll again on the table for the next lower or next
higher level.
3. When applicable, roll the indicated die to see how many creatures are in the encounter.
4. Refer to the Monster Manual (or in some cases Chapter 4 of
this book if the encounter is with one or more NPCs) for statistics and other information about the creature or creatures in
the encounter. Use the Treasure entry in the monster’s description to determine how much treasure (if any) the encounter
promises.

A SAMPLE ADVENTURE

This section provides a few examples of how to compose descriptions of encounter areas. These descriptions may be more (or less)
detailed than the notes you use, but they give you an idea of what you

Table 3–18: Random Room Contents
d%
Room Contents
01–18
Monster only
19–44
Monster and features
45
Monster and hidden treasure
46
Monster and trap
47
Monster, features, and hidden treasure
48
Monster, features, and trap
49
Monster, hidden treasure, and trap
50
Monster, features, hidden treasure, and trap
51–76
Features only
77
Features and hidden treasure
78
Features and trap
79
Features, hidden treasure, and trap
80
Hidden treasure only
81
Hidden treasure and trap
82
Trap only
83–100 Nothing
Features: Roll 1d4 minor features on Table 3–12: Minor Features and
Furnishings (01–40), 1d4 major features on Table 3–11: Major
Features and Furnishings (41–80), or both (81–100).
Hidden Treasure: Roll a random treasure of the dungeon’s level on
Table 3–5: Treasure. Typically, the treasure is hidden in such a way that
it takes a Search check (DC 20 + dungeon level) to find it.
Monster: Roll on the dungeon encounter table (see below) for the
appropriate dungeon level. Creatures in rooms with traps or hidden
treasures may or may not know about them.
Trap: Roll on Table 3–19: Random Traps CR 1–3, Table 3–20: Random
Traps CR 4–6, or Table 3–21: Random Traps CR 7–10, or invent a trap
that suits the other contents of the room.

1st-Level Dungeon Encounters

d%
01–10
11–12
13–19
20–23
24–26
27–28
29–30
31–32
33–35
36–38
39–40
41–43
44–50
51–55
56–62
63–65
66–68
69–70
71–72
73–74
75–79
80–83
84–87
88–90
91–100

Encounter
Roll on 1st-level table
1 lantern archon
1 hobgoblin warrior and 1d4 goblin
warriors
1 bugbear
1 choker
1 dretch (demon)
1 quasit (demon)
1 imp (devil)
1 dire bat
1d4+1 fiendish dire rats
1d3+1 formian workers
1d3+1 halfling warriors
2d4+1 kobold warriors
1 wererat (lycanthrope)
1d3+1 orc warriors
1 shocker lizard
1 owlbear skeleton
1 bat swarm
1 rat swarm
1 thoqqua
1 worg
1 constrictor snake (animal)
1d4+2 Small viper snakes (animal)
1 Huge monstrous centipede
(vermin)
Roll on 3rd-level table

3rd-Level Dungeon Encounters
d%
01–10
11–13
14–16
17–19
20–21
22–23
24–27
28–29
30–31
32–33
34–35

Encounter
Roll on 2nd-level table
1 allip
1 cockatrice
2d4+1 dire rats
1 doppelganger
1 wyrmling brass dragon
1d3 drow elves
1 ethereal filcher
1 ethereal marauder
1 ettercap
1 violet fungus (fungus)

1 ghast (ghoul)
1d3 gnolls
1 grick
1 hell hound
1 howler
1d3 krenshars
1d3 lizardfolk
1 werewolf (lycanthrope)
1 ogre
1 gelatinous cube (ooze)
1 phantom fungus
1 rust monster
1 shadow
2d4 stirges
1 locust swarm
1 wight
1 yuan-ti pureblood
1d3 troglodyte zombies
1d3 Medium viper snakes (animal)
1 giant praying mantis (vermin)
1d3 Medium monstrous scorpions
(vermin)
91–100 Roll on 4th-level table

4th-Level Dungeon Encounters
d%
01–10
11–12
13–14
15–16
17–20
21–22
23–27
28–30
31–33
34–38
39–40
41–44
45–47
48–50
51–52
53–54
55–56
57–59
60–62
63–64
65–67
68–69
70–71
72–73
74–76
77–78
79–80
81–83
84–85
86–88

Encounter
Roll on 3rd-level table
1 barghest
1d3 lantern archons
1 hound archon
1 carrion crawler
1d4+1 darkmantles
1 displacer beast
1 young white dragon
1d3+1 duergar dwarves
1 gargoyle
1 janni (genie)
1d3+1 ghouls
1d3+1 svirfneblin gnomes
1d3+1 grimlocks
1 harpy
1 five-headed hydra
1 wereboar (lycanthrope)
1 mimic
1 minotaur
1 gray ooze (ooze)
1 otyugh
1 owlbear
1 centipede swarm
1d3+1 spider swarms
1d4+1 troglodytes
1 vampire spawn
1d3 worgs
1 minotaur zombie
1d3 Large viper snakes (animal)
1d4+1 Large monstrous centipedes
(vermin)
89–90 1d3 Large monstrous spiders
(vermin)
91–100 Roll on 5th-level table

5th-Level Dungeon Encounters
d%
01–10
11–12
13–14
15–17
18–19
20–21
22–23
24–26
27–28
29–33
34–35
36–37
38–39
40–41
42–43
44–45
46–47
48–49
50–51
52–53
54–56
57–58
59–60
61–62
63–64
65–66
67–68
69–71
72–73
74–76
77–78
79–80
81–82
83–84
85–86
87–88
89–90
91–100

Encounter
Roll on 4th-level table
1 basilisk
1 greater barghest
1d3+1 bugbears
1d3 celestial lions
1 cloaker
1 bearded devil
1d4+4 dire bats
1d3 doppelgangers
1d4+2 drow elves
1 ettercap and 1d3+1 Medium
monstrous spiders (vermin)
1 djinni (genie)
1 gibbering mouther
1 green hag (hag)
1d3 hell hounds
1 six-headed hydra
1 werebear (lycanthrope)
1d3 wererats (lycanthrope) and 2d4
dire rats
1 manticore
1 mummy
1d3 ogres
1 ochre jelly (ooze)
1 phase spider
1d3 rust monsters
1 shadow mastiff
1d4+1 skum
1d3+1 rat swarms
1 troll
1d4+1 vargouilles
1 wraith
1 yuan-ti halfblood
1 giant constrictor snake (animal)
1d3 Huge viper snakes (animal)
1d3 giant worker ants (vermin)
1d3+1 Large monstrous scorpions
(vermin)
5th-level human monk NPC
5th-level kobold sorcerer NPC
Roll on 6th-level table

ADVENTURES

2nd-Level Dungeon Encounters

36–38
39–43
44–45
46–48
49–50
51–52
53–55
56–57
58–62
63–65
66–67
68–69
70–72
73–75
76–77
78–80
81–82
83–84
85–86
87–88
89–90

CHAPTER 3:

d% Encounter
01–03 1d3 Medium monstrous
centipedes (vermin)
04–08 1d4 dire rats
09–10 1d4 giant fire beetles (vermin)
11–13 1d3 Small monstrous scorpions
(vermin)
14–16 1d3 Small monstrous spiders (vermin)
17–20 1d3 dwarf warriors
21–22 1d3 elf warriors
23–25 1 darkmantle
26–28 1 krenshar
29–30 1 lemure (devil)
31–40 1d3+1 goblin warriors
41–50 1d4+2 kobold warriors
51–56 1d4 human warrior skeletons
57–62 1d3 human commoner zombies
63–71 1d4+1 Tiny viper snakes (animal)
72–80 1d3 orc warriors
81–85 1d3 stirges
86–90 1 spider swarm
91–100 Roll on 2nd-level table

6th-Level Dungeon Encounters
d%
01–10
11–12
13–14
15–16
17–18
19–21
22–23
24–25
26–30
31–32
33–36
37–38
39–42
43–45
46–48
49–50
51–52
53–54
55–56
57–58
59–60

Encounter
Roll on 5th-level table
1d4+2 lantern archons
1 gauth (beholder)
1d3+1 cockatrices
1 babau (demon)
1d3+1 derros
1 chain devil
1 digester
1d3 displacer beasts
1 bralani (eladrin)
1 ettin
1d3+1 formian workers
1d3 gargoyles
1d3+1 ghasts (ghoul)
1d4+1 gnolls and 1d3 hyenas
1d3+1 gricks
1 annis (hag)
1 half-dragon 4th-level fighter
1d3 harpies
1d3+1 howlers
1 five-headed hydra (pyro- or cryo-)

79

ADVENTURES

CHAPTER 3:

61–63 1 wereboar (lycanthrope) and 1d3
boars
64–65 1d3+1 mephits (mixed types)
66–67 1 average salamander
68–71 1d4+1 shadows
72–73 1d3+2 shocker lizards
74–75 1d3+1 locust swarms
76–78 1d3+1 troglodytes and 1d3
monitor lizards
79–80 1 will-o’-wisp
81–82 1 xill
83–84 1d3+1 minor xorns
85–86 1d3+1 yuan-ti purebloods
87–88 1d4+2 giant bombardier beetles
(vermin)
89–90 5th-level lizardfolk druid NPC (with
crocodile)
91–100 Roll on 7th-level table

8th-Level Dungeon Encounters
d%
01–10
11–12
13–14
15–17
18–19
20–21
22–23
24–25
26–28
29–31
32–35
36–37

38–39
40–42
43–44

7th-Level Dungeon Encounters
d%
01–10
11–12
13–14
15–16
17–19
20–21
22–23
24–25
26–28
29–31
32–33
34–35
36–38
39–42
43–45
46–47
48–49
50–51
52–53
54–56
57–59
60–61
62–63
64–65
66–67
68–69
70–71
72–74
75–76
77–80
81–82
83–84
85–86
87–88
89–90
91–100

80

Encounter
Roll on 6th-level table
1 aboleth
1d4+1 carrion crawlers
1 chaos beast
1 chuul
1 succubus (demon)
1 hellcat (devil)
1 dire bear
1 young copper dragon
1 drider
1d3+1 violet fungi and 1d3+2
shriekers (fungus)
1d3+1 jann (genie)
1 ghost, 5th-level fighter
1 hill giant
1 flesh golem
1 eight-headed hydra
1 invisible stalker
1d3 weretigers (lycanthrope)
1d3 manticores
1 medusa
1d3+1 minotaurs
1 ogre barbarian, 4th level
1 black pudding (ooze)
1 phasm
1d3+2 flamebrother salamanders
1d3 shadow mastiffs
1 red slaad
1 spectre
1d3+1 centipede swarms
1 umber hulk
1 vampire, 5th-level fighter
1d4+1 wights
1 yuan-ti abomination
1 Gargantuan monstrous centipede
5th-level hobgoblin fighter NPC and
5th-level goblin rogue NPC
Roll on 8th-level table

45–46
47–48
49–51
52–54
55–56
57–58
59–60
61–64
65–66
67–69
70–71
72–73
74–75
76–78
79–81
82–83
84–86
87–88
89–90
91–100

Encounter
Roll on 7th-level table
1d4+2 hound archons
1d4+2 barghests
1 behir
1d3 gauths (beholder)
1 bodak
1 destrachan
1d3+1 bearded devils
1 erinyes (devil)
1d3 bralanis (eladrin)
1 ettin and 1d3 brown bears (animal)
1 formian taskmaster and 1
dominated 5th-level human
barbarian NPC
1 noble djinni (genie)
1 efreeti (genie)
1d3+1 ghasts (ghoul) and 2d4+1
ghouls
1 stone giant
1 gorgon
1 seven-headed hydra (pyro- or cryo-)
1 mind flayer
1 mohrg
1d3+1 mummies
1 dark naga
1 ogre mage
1d4+1 phase spiders
1 greater shadow
1d3 advanced megaraptor
skeletons
1 blue slaad
1 hellwasp swarm
1d3+1 trolls
1d4+1 vampire spawns
1d3 average xorns
1d3+1 yuan-ti halfbloods
1d4+1 giant stag beetles (vermin)
1d3 5th-level troglodyte cleric NPCs
Roll on 9th-level table

67–69 1 night hag
70–72 1 ogre barbarian, 4th level, and
1d4+3 ogres
73–75 1 green slaad
76–77 1d3+1 will-o’-wisps
78–81 1d4+1 wraiths
82–84 1d3 yuan-ti abominations
85–87 1d3+1 gray render zombies
88–90 1d4+2 5th-level human paladin
NPCs
91–100 Roll on 10th-level table

10th-Level Dungeon Encounters
d%
01–10
11–12
13–15
16–17
18–20
21–23
24–26
27–29
30–33
34–39
40–43
44–46
47–49
50–52
53–54
55–57
58–60
61–62
63–64
65–67
68–70
71–73
74–76
77–80
81–83
84–86

9th-Level Dungeon Encounters
d%
01–10
11–13
14–16
17–19
20–21
22–24
25–27
28–30
31–33
34–36
37–38
39
40–42
43–44
45–48
49–52
53–55
56–58
59–61
62–63
64–66

Encounter
Roll on 8th-level table
1d4+2 greater barghests
1d4+2 basilisks
1d4+2 cloakers
1 delver
1 vrock (demon)
1 bone devil
1d3 devils, hellcat
1d3+1 chain devils
1d3 dire bears
1 young adult black dragon
1 juvenile bronze dragon
1 drider and 2d4+3 Medium
monstrous spiders (vermin)
1 formian myrmarch and 2d4+1
formian warriors
1 frost giant
1 hill giant and 1d4+2 dire wolves
1 avoral (guardinal)
1 half-fiend 7th-level cleric
1 ten-headed hydra
1 zelekhut (inevitable)
1 spirit naga

87–88
89–90
91–100

Encounter
Roll on 9th-level table
1d3+1 aboleths
1d3 behirs
1d4+2 gauths (beholder)
1d4+1 chuuls
1d4+2 babaus (demon)
1 bebilith (demon)
1d4+2 digesters
1d3+1 ghosts, 5th-level fighters
1 fire giant
1 clay golem
1d3+1 flesh golems
1 nine-headed hydra (pyro- or cryo-)
1d3+1 medusas
1 guardian naga
1d3 ogre mages
1d3+2 average salamanders
1 noble salamander
1d3 young adult red dragon
skeletons
1d4+1 red slaadi
1 gray slaad
1d3+1 spectres
1d3+1 umber hulks
1d4+1 xills
1d3 elder xorns
Yuan-ti troupe: 1 abomination,
1d3 halfbloods, and 1d4+1
purebloods
1d3+1 Huge monstrous scorpions
(vermin)
5th-level drow wizard NPC, 1
hellcat (devil), and 1 mind flayer
Roll on 11th-level table

11th-Level Dungeon Encounters
d%
01–10
11–13
14–18
19–22
23–26
27–30
31–35
36–41
42–45
46–49
50–52
53–56
57–60

Encounter
Roll on 10th-level table
1d3+1 aboleths and 2d4+3 skums
1 hezrou (demon)
1 retriever (demon)
1 barbed devil
1 devourer
1d3+1 efreet (genie)
1d4+1 hill giants
1 stone golem
1d3 avorals (guardinal)
1 half-celestial paladin
1 twelve-headed hydra
1 hill giant dire wereboar
(lycanthrope)
61–64 1d3+1 mohrgs
65–67 1d3+1 dark nagas

68–71
72–75
76–78
79–82
83–86
87–90

1 elder black pudding (ooze)
1d4+1 blue slaadi
1d3+1 hellwasp swarms
1 troll hunter
1 dread wraith
5th-level gnoll ranger NPC, 1d3
invisible stalkers, and 1 greater
shadow
91–100 Roll on 12th-level table

12th-Level Dungeon Encounters

13th-Level Dungeon Encounters
d%
01–10
11–18
19–24
25–31
32–33
34–35
36–41
42–48
49–54
55–61
62–66
67–70
71–73
74–79
80–84
85–90
91–100

Encounter
Roll on 12th-level table
1 beholder
1 glabrezu (demon)
1 ice devil
1 adult green dragon
1 young adult silver dragon
1 ghaele (eladrin)
1d3 fire giants and 1 Nessian war
hound (hell hound)
1d3+1 clay golems
1 iron golem
1 twelve-headed hydra (pyro- or cryo-)
1 lich, 11th-level wizard
10th-level drow wizard NPC and
10th-level goblin rogue NPC
1 mummy lord
1d3+1 guardian nagas
1 death slaad
Roll on 14th-level table

14th-Level Dungeon Encounters
d%
01–10
11–15
16–20
21–27
28–35
36–45
46–52
53–63

Encounter
Roll on 13th-level table
1 astral deva (angel)
1 trumpet archon
1d3+1 hezrous (demon)
1 nalfeshnee (demon)
1d3+1 barbed devils
2 displacer beast pack lords
2d4+2 stone giants and 1 elder
stone giant
64–69 1d3+1 stone golems

15th-Level Dungeon Encounters
d%
01–10
11–17
18–26
27–37
38–48

49–58
59–65
66–74
75–82
83–90
91–100

Encounter
Roll on 14th-level table
1 abyssal greater basilisk
1d3 beholders
Demon troupe: 1 glabrezu, 1
succubus, and 1d4+1 vrocks
Devil troupe: 1 ice devil, 2d4+3
bearded devils, and 1d3 bone
devils
1d3 ghaeles (eladrin)
1 marut (inevitable)
1 vampire, elite
15th-level hobgoblin fighter NPC
15th-level kobold sorcerer NPC
Roll on 16th-level table

16th-Level Dungeon Encounters
d%
01–10
11–15
16–21
22–28
29–36
37–47
48–50
51–52
53–60
61–67
68–74
75–82
83–90
91–100

Encounter
Roll on 15th-level table
1 planetar (angel)
1 hound archon hero
1d3 trumpet archons
Demon troupe: 1 nalfeshnee, 1
hezrou, and 2d4+1 vrocks
1 horned devil
1 mature adult blue dragon
1 adult gold dragon
1d3+1 golems, iron
1 golem, greater stone
1 nightshade, nightwalker
1d4+2 ropers
15th-level lizardfolk druid NPC
Roll on 17th-level table

17th-Level Dungeon Encounters
d%
01–10
11–20
21–30
31–43
44–45
46–47
48–49
50–62
63–73
74–82

Encounter
Roll on 16th-level table
1 aboleth mage
1d4+2 beholders
1 marilith (demon)
1 very old white dragon
1 old brass dragon
1 mature adult bronze dragon
1 frost giant jarl
9th-level mind flayer sorcerer
15th-level human paladin NPC and
15th-level human monk NPC
83–90 1d3 15th-level hobgoblin fighter
NPCs
91–100 Roll on 18th-level table

18th-Level Dungeon Encounters
d%
01–10
11–25
26–35
36–38
39–41
42–44
45–47
48–62
63–72

73–90
91–100

Encounter
Roll on 17th-level table
1d4+2 astral devas (angel)
1d3 planetars (angel)
1 very old black dragon
1 old dragon (blue or green)
1 mature adult dragon (red or
silver)
1 ancient white dragon
1 nightcrawler (nightshade)
1d3 15th-level half-orc barbarian
NPCs and 15th-level human bard
NPC
15th-level kobold sorcerer NPC and
1 werewolf lord (lycanthrope)
Roll on 19th-level table

ADVENTURES

63–66
67–72
73–77
78–84
85–90
91–100

Encounter
Roll on 11th-level table
1d3+1 bodaks
1 abyssal greater basilisk
1d3+1 vrocks (demon)
1d3+3 destrachans
1d3+1 bone devils
1 displacer beast pack lord
1d4+1 frost giants
1 leonal (guardinal)
1 eleven-headed hydra (pyro- or cryo-)
1 kolyarut (inevitable)
1d3+2 mind flayers
10th-level half-orc barbarian NPC
and 10th-level human cleric NPC
1d3+1 spirit nagas
1 purple worm
1 roper
1d3 noble salamanders
1d4+1 green slaadi
Roll on 13th-level table

1 werewolf lord (lycanthrope)
1 nightwing (nightshade)
1d4+2 10th-level goblin rogue NPCs
1 truly horrid umber hulk
Roll on 15th-level table

CHAPTER 3:

d%
01–10
11–14
15–17
18–24
25–27
28–34
35–38
39–45
46–48
49–52
53–55
55–58
59–62

70–78
79–80
81–83
84–90
91–100

19th-Level Dungeon Encounters
d%
01–10
11–21
22–36
37–49
50–52
53–55
56–58
59–61
62–64
65–79
80–90
91–100

Encounter
Roll on 18th-level table
2d4+5 abyssal greater basilisks
1d3 mariliths (demon)
1d3+1 horned devils
1 ancient black dragon
1 very old dragon (blue, green, or
brass)
1 wyrm white dragon
1 old dragon (bronze or copper)
1 mature adult gold dragon
1d3+1 greater stone golems
1d3+1 15th-level gnoll ranger
NPCs
Roll on 20th-level table

20th-Level Dungeon Encounters
d%
01–10
11–45
46–80
81–85
86–90
91–95
96–100

Encounter
Roll on 19th-level table
1 balor (demon)
1 pit fiend (devil)
1 wyrm black dragon
1 old dragon (red or silver)
1 ancient brass dragon
1 very old copper dragon

81

ADVENTURES

CHAPTER 3:

Table 3–19: Random Traps CR 1–3
d%
01–03
04–06
07–09
10–11
12–14
15–16
17–19
20–22
23–24
25–27
28–30
31–33
34–35
36–38
39–41
42–44
45–47
48–50
51–53
54–56
57–58
59–61
62–64
65–67
68–69
70–72
73–75
76–78
79–80
81–83
84–85
86–87
88–90
91–92
93–95
96–98
99–100

Trap
Basic arrow trap
Camouflaged pit trap
Deeper pit trap
Doorknob smeared with contact poison
Fusillade of darts
Poison dart trap
Poison needle trap
Portcullis trap
Razor-wire across hallway
Rolling rock trap
Scything blade trap
Spear trap
Swinging block trap
Wall blade trap
Box of brown mold
Bricks from ceiling
Burning hands trap
Camouflaged pit trap
Inflict light wounds trap
Javelin trap
Large net trap
Pit trap
Poison needle trap
Spiked pit trap
Tripping chain
Well-camouflaged pit trap
Burning hands trap
Camouflaged pit trap
Ceiling pendulum
Fire trap
Extended bane trap
Ghoul touch trap
Hail of needles
Melf’s acid arrow trap
Pit trap
Spiked pit trap
Stone blocks from ceiling

CR
1
1
1
1
1
1
1
1
1
1
1
1
1
1
2
2
2
2
2
2
2
2
2
2
2
2
3
3
3
3
3
3
3
3
3
3
3

Table 3–20: Random Traps CR 4–6
d%
01–02
03–05
06–07
08–10
11–12
13–15
16–18
19–21
22–24
25–26
27–29
30–32
33–35
36–37
38–40

82

Trap
Bestow curse trap
Camouflaged pit trap
Collapsing column
Glyph of warding (blast)
Lightning bolt trap
Pit trap
Poisoned dart trap
Sepia snake sigil trap
Spiked pit trap
Wall scythe trap
Water-filled room trap
Wide-mouth spiked pit trap
Camouflaged pit trap
Doorknob smeared with contact poison
Falling block trap

CR
4
4
4
4
4
4
4
4
4
4
4
4
5
5
5

need to record in order to have a ready-to-play adventure planned
out. The notes in italic type relate to the use of the dungeon map and
cutouts in this book to play out the adventure with miniature figures.
When you create an adventure, identify each encounter area
with a number (and label your map accordingly). These numbers
don’t necessarily correspond to the order in which the characters
will visit the encounter areas, but they serve as a way for you to
keep track of where the characters are and where they’re headed.
Each of the encounter areas in this sample adventure can be simu-

d%
41–43
44–46
47–48
49–51
52–53
54–55
56–58
59–61
62–64
65–67
68–69
70–71
72–74
75–77
78–80
81–83
84–85
86–88
89–91
92–94
95–97
98–100

Trap
Fire trap
Fireball trap
Flooding room trap
Fusillade of darts
Moving executioner statue
Phantasmal killer trap
Pit trap
Poison wall spikes
Spiked pit trap
Spiked pit trap (80 ft.)
Ungol dust vapor trap
Built-to-collapse wall
Compacting room
Flame strike trap
Fusillade of spears
Glyph of warding (blast)
Lightning bolt trap
Spiked blocks from ceiling
Spiked pit trap (100 ft.)
Whirling poison blades
Wide-mouth pit trap
Wyvern arrow trap

CR
5
5
5
5
5
5
5
5
5
5
5
6
6
6
6
6
6
6
6
6
6
6

Table 3–21: Random Traps CR 7–10
d%
01–04
05–07
08–10
11–14
15–17
18–20
21–23
24–26
27–30
31–33
34–36
37–39
40–42
43–46
47–49
50–52
53–55
56–59
60–62
63–65
66–68
69–71
72–74
75–77
78–80
81–84
85–88
89–91
92–94
95–97
98–100

Trap
Acid fog trap
Blade barrier trap
Burnt othur vapor trap
Chain lightning trap
Evard’s black tentacles trap
Fusillade of greenblood oil darts
Lock covered in dragon bile
Summon monster VI trap
Water-filled room
Well-camouflaged pit trap
Deathblade wall scythe
Destruction trap
Earthquake trap
Insanity mist vapor trap
Melf’s acid arrow trap
Power word stun trap
Prismatic spray trap
Reverse gravity trap
Well-camouflaged pit trap
Word of chaos trap
Drawer handle smeared with contact poison
Dropping ceiling
Incendiary cloud trap
Wide-mouth pit trap
Wide-mouth spiked pit with poisoned spikes
Crushing room
Crushing wall trap
Energy drain trap
Forcecage and summon monster VII trap
Poisoned spiked pit trap
Wail of the banshee trap

CR
7
7
7
7
7
7
7
7
7
7
8
8
8
8
8
8
8
8
8
8
9
9
9
9
9
10
10
10
10
10
10

lated using a portion of the sample dungeon on the back of the
battle grid that came with this book.
Shaded Text: The following sample entries include shaded text
meant to be paraphrased or read aloud to your players. Shaded text
mentions those features that would be apparent to the PCs upon
first entering that area (and is thus very helpful to the player who’s
making a map for the characters). It does not mention hidden features such as traps, nor monsters and items out of the PCs’ immediate line of sight.

You don’t have to literally make shaded text for your own notes,
but be sure to highlight material in your notes that you want to
use to quickly describe the area in an interesting way. Be sure not
to include information that could not be known to the characters,
and do not describe PC actions or emotions (such as “As you cower
in fear . . .”). Be fair about providing the players with clues, such as
the webs in the shaded text for area 1 below, but don’t draw attention to them. The best way to write shaded text or note what the
characters entering a location would sense is to imagine what you
could see, hear, smell, or feel if you were entering that area, then
set down the pertinent information as succinctly as possible.

1. Entry Chamber (EL 3)
This damp chamber has an arched, vaulted ceiling 20 feet high
in the center. The walls are made of cut stone blocks, the floor
rough flagstones. Thick webs cover the ceiling.
To represent this chamber, use the 4-by-4-square room on the left side of
the dungeon map (the room that’s adjacent to the 4-by-5-square room).
You can use the cutouts provided at the back of this book to identify the
locations of specific features, such as doors and treasure. To begin, place
one of the staircase cutouts in the 2-square-wide corridor that extends
from this room’s north wall (and ignore the wall between the room and
the corridor). The adventure gets under way when the characters descend
this staircase and find themselves inside the room. In addition to what
the players learned from the shaded text, the room has other features that
will become apparent to the PCs as they investigate the place. One of the
first things they see is a door in the east wall—place a door cutout over
any square along the wall between this room and the one to the east. They
will also quickly notice a pile of rubbish in the center of the room and
another pile of trash in the northwest corner; you can use cutouts representing rubble to show the location of these features.
A litter of husks, skin, bones, spider castings, and filth lies in a disgusting pile in the middle of the room. A DC 22 Spot check is
required to notice the creatures (a spider and its young; see below)
hiding in the webs above. The refuse pile in the middle of the
room contains treasure.
The Spot DC for the lurking spider is intentionally difficult, but
not out of the reach of the intended PCs (in this case, all 1st-level
characters).
Ten moldy sacks of flour and grain are stacked in the northwest
corner. The cloth tears easily, revealing the ruined contents. One
of the sacks contains a trap.
There is a solid oak door on the east wall. The door is not locked,
but it is stuck (DC 16 to open). Anyone listening at the door who
makes a DC 12 Listen check hears a moaning sound, rising and then
fading. This is merely a strong breeze that blows in area 2. As soon as
the door opens, the breeze rushes out the opening in a gust, extinguishing torches and possibly (50% chance) blowing out lanterns as
well. Torches can’t be relit in the area while the door is open.
(The low DC for the Listen check is intentional—you want the
PCs to hear the moaning and get spooked, thinking it’s a ghost or
something similarly horrible. Also, always remember to make a
note of the DC to open a stuck or locked door.)
Creatures: A Small monstrous spider and six Tiny young spiders hide in the upper part of the webs in the center of the room.
If the characters fail to spot the Small spider, it drops down on any

ADVENTURES

The abandoned monastery is a burned-out ruin, destroyed when
the place was attacked years ago by gnolls. The interesting part lies
belowground, in the cellars and crypts underneath the ruins. The
characters have traveled to the monastery and, after some searching, discovered a stairway leading down into the darkness. When
they descend, they find themselves in encounter area 1.

CHAPTER 3:

THE MONASTERY CELLAR

character in the center of the room (a move action). A successful
touch attack roll indicates that the spider lands on a character. The
Tiny spiders remain in the web and eat small meals trapped by the
web. They only move down from the web when all is still to eat a
meal pacified by the larger spider.
If the PCs burn the webs, the six young spiders are killed and
the adult spider (if still in the web) takes 1d6 points of damage.
The webs burn for 8 rounds.
Small Monstrous Spider (1): hp 7.
Tiny Monstrous Spiders (6): hp 2 each.
Treasure: Scattered amid the pile in the middle of the room are
19 sp and a goblin skull with a 50 gp garnet inside. Characters only
notice the gem with a DC 15 Search check.
Trap: One of the sacks in the southwest corner has yellow mold
inside it. If disturbed, it bursts—all within 10 feet must make a
DC 15 Fortitude save or take 1d6 points of Constitution damage.
One minute later, everyone exposed to the initial burst must save
again (same DC) or take 2d6 points of Constitution damage,
whether or not they took damage in the initial exposure.
(It’s not always necessary to write out complete rules, as has
been done here for yellow mold. You can add this level of description to your notes if you need it, or you can simply jot down the
page number and book where it’s found.)

2. Water Room
A fast-flowing stream 3 to 5 feet deep enters this chamber at
the north end and exits to the south. Toward the south end of
the chamber, some of the water collects in a depression, forming a pool about 4 feet deep at its edge and about 7 feet deep at
the center. You can see a few blind, white crayfish crawling
among the rocks on the bottom.
A good example of what not to include in shaded text is the fact that
the water is icy cold—there’s no way the characters could know this
just by looking at the water from the doorway. Characters who
simply turn around and leave after a glance inside may never discover the sunken skeleton, much less the helpful items beside it.
This chamber is represented by the 4-by-5-square room adjacent to the area
where the adventure began. The pool occupies the 2-by-2-square area in
the southeast corner of the chamber.
The only way out of this room, aside from the door the PCs
entered through, is a secret door on the south wall in the southwest corner of the chamber. Locating it requires a DC 18 Search
check. (Don’t put a cutout on the map to represent this door until the PCs
discover it.)
The monks who once lived here worked this natural cavern in
order to enlarge it. A strong, damp breeze makes it impossible to
keep torches lit here. Eight rotting barrels remain lined up along
the west wall from when the room was used to gather water for the
monastery. A few buckets also lie scattered about.
(In a ruin, it’s always handy to know what a room or area was
formerly used for, even if it now serves a different purpose, or no
purpose at all. Your descriptions can often convey that former purpose, reminding the players that this place has its own history—
it’s not just a backdrop for adventures.)
Lying at the bottom of the pool is the limed-over skeleton of the
abbot. Without a DC 15 Spot check, this appears to be just an
unusual mineral formation. In its bony fingers, the skeleton holds
a tube of the sort designed to contain a rolled-up piece of vellum
or parchment. If the remains are disturbed, the act dislodges the
tube from the skeleton’s grasp. The stream’s current carries away
the tube unless a character dives into the icy water immediately to
get it. This requires a DC 13 Swim check and an attack roll against
the tube’s AC of 14 (modified for size and, in this special case,

83

ADVENTURES

CHAPTER 3:

speed). If the PCs do not act quickly, the tube is swept away and
lost in a single round. The tube contains treasure.
Getting the map will be hard for characters unless they act fast
and roll well. However, the reward is great, because they are
shown a secret passage that they probably would otherwise miss.
Treasure: Inside this not-quite-watertight ivory tube is a
vellum map, smeared due to water seepage.
Depending on how you want to proceed, this map might depict
other rooms deeper inside the monastery cellar (if you want to
develop them and continue this adventure) or some other site that
you want to use as a springboard for further adventuring.

3. Empty Ceremonial Chamber (EL 4)
This room appears to be a dead end. Its domed ceiling arches
up to 25 feet high in the center. On the east side of the chamber, a fast-flowing stream of water 5 feet wide runs from north
to south.
This area can be represented by the 3-by-5-square room to the south of the
area the PCs are coming from (disregard the walls that block off the two
squares in the southeast corner).
The monks brought the faithful here after death, consecrated each
corpse, and then carried it to its final resting place in the crypts. A
wooden platform against the west wall served as both a dais upon
which to hold the ceremony and as a means to reach the secret
door leading into the crypts to the west. The platform has been
gone from this site for many years; when it was here, it rose 9 feet
off the ground, with the bottom of the secret door being 1 foot
above that. Two knobs just above the level of the vanished platform look like mere bumps in the wall, but when they are pushed
simultaneously, a 5-foot-by-5-foot portion of the wall swings outward with a grinding noise.
To move any farther into the monastery cellar, the PCs will have
to solve the puzzle of how to open this secret passage. The two
knobs that need to be pushed simultaneously are 10 feet off the
ground in adjacent squares in the southwest corner of the room.
Before the characters can begin to figure this out, they must contend with the other occupants of the room.
Creatures: Three ghouls lurk in the east end of this chamber on
the other side of the 5-foot-wide stream. They rush forward to
attack the PCs as soon as all of them have moved into this chamber.
Ghouls (3): hp 13, 13, 18.

Going on from Here
If you use these three encounter areas as the start of an adventure
in the corridors and chambers beneath the monastery, you can
take the adventure in any direction you like after the PCs dispose
of the ghouls and figure out how to open the secret door. That
door might lead to a long corridor riddled with traps (to discourage looters from entering the crypts), or it might provide egress
into an enormous chamber with a number of different corridors
leading away from it . . . or anything else you can think of.

MONSTER STATISTICS

84

Here are the statistics blocks (a form of condensed creature statistics) for the creatures briefly mentioned above. These sample statistics blocks present all the information needed to run an
encounter with the spiders and one with the ghouls. For information on how to read a statistics block, see the following page.
For your own notes, you can write out this information in as
much or as little detail as you like. It’s best to include all the information you may need at first, then gradually make the entries
more abbreviated (for example: 3 ghouls, hp 13 each, ghoul fever,
paralysis, undead type) as you become familiar with various creatures’ abilities through repeated encounters.

Small Monstrous Spider (1): CR 1/2; Small vermin; HD 1d8;
hp 7; Init +3; Spd 30 ft., climb 20 ft.; AC 14, touch 14, flat-footed 11;
Base Atk +0; Grp –6; Atk +4 melee (1d4–2 plus poison, bite); Full
Atk +4 melee (1d4–2 plus poison, bite); Space/Reach 5 ft./5 ft.; SA
poison, web; SQ_tremorsense, vermin traits; AL N; SV Fort +2, Ref
+3, Will +0; Str 7, Dex 17, Con 10, Int —, Wis 10, Cha 2.
Skills and Feats: Climb +11, Hide +11*, Jump +4, Spot +12*;
Weapon Finesse.
Poison (Ex): Injury, Fortitude DC 10, initial and secondary
damage 1d3 Str.
Web (Ex): This spider produces silk. Spiders can wait in their
webs, then lower themselves silently on silk strands and leap onto
prey passing beneath. A single strand is strong enough to support
the spider and one creature of the same size. *Monstrous spiders
gain a +8 competence bonus on Hide and Move Silently checks
when using their webs.
Web-spinning spiders can throw a web eight times per day. This
attack is similar to an attack with a net but maximum range of 50
feet, range increment 10 feet, and effective against targets up to
one size category larger than the spider. The web anchors the
target in place, allowing no movement. An entangled creature can
escape with a DC 15 Escape Artist check or burst it with a DC 14
Strength check. Both are standard actions.
Web-spinning spiders often create sheets of sticky webbing.
Approaching creatures must succeed on a DC 20 Spot check to
notice a web; otherwise, they stumble into it and become trapped
as though by a successful thrown web attack. Attempts to escape
or burst the webbing gain a +5 bonus if the trapped creature has
something to walk on or grab while pulling free. Each 5-foot section has 4 hit points, and sheet webs have damage reduction
5/fire.
A monstrous spider can move across its own sheet web at its
climb speed and can determine the exact location of any creature
touching the web.
Tremorsense (Ex): A monstrous spider can detect and locate any
creature or object in contact with the ground within 60 feet, or
any creature or object in contact with the spider’s webs at an
unlimited range.
Vermin Traits: Darkvision out to 60 feet. Mindless; no Intelligence score, and immunity to mind-affecting effects (charms,
compulsions, phantasms, patterns, and morale effects).
Tiny Monstrous Spiders (6): CR 1/4; Tiny vermin; HD 1/2 d8;
hp 2 each; Init +3; Spd 20 ft., climb 10 ft.; AC 15, touch 15, flat-footed
12; Base Atk +0; Grp –12; Atk +5 melee (1d3–4 plus poison, bite);
Full Atk +5 melee (1d3–4 plus poison, bite); Space/Reach 2-1/2 ft./0
ft.; SA poison, web; SQ tremorsense, vermin traits; AL N; SV Fort +2,
Ref +3, Will +0; Str 3, Dex 17, Con 10, Int —, Wis 10, Cha 2.
Skills and Feats: Climb +11, Hide +15*, Jump +0, Spot +12*;
Weapon Finesse.
Poison (Ex): Injury, Fortitude DC 10, initial and secondary
damage 1d2 Str.
Web (Ex): The webs in this encounter were all produced by the
mother spider; see the Small monstrous spider entry, above, for
details. *Monstrous spiders gain a +8 competence bonus on Hide
and Move Silently checks when using their webs.
These monstrous spiders can move across their mother’s sheet
web at their climb speed and can determine the exact location of
any creature touching the web.
Tremorsense (Ex): A monstrous spider can detect and locate any
creature or object in contact with the ground within 60 feet, or
any creature or object in contact with the spider’s webs at an
unlimited range.
Vermin Traits: Darkvision out to 60 feet. Mindless; no Intelligence score, and immunity to mind-affecting effects (charms,
compulsions, phantasms, patterns, and morale effects).

ADVENTURES

STATISTICS BLOCKS

Every character and creature in the D&D game has a number of
different abilities and characteristics. A creature’s statistics block
(“stat block” for short) summarizes those attributes.
At the end of the sample adventure above, statistics blocks are
provided for the spiders and the ghouls that the PCs encounter.
This information is taken from the Monster Manual entries for
those creatures and presented here in an abbreviated form. Many
published adventures contain stat blocks for the creatures therein
as a convenience, preventing you from needing to look up information from one of the core rulebooks (usually the Monster
Manual) in order to run the adventure.
Some stat blocks are less detailed than others, sometimes
because those characters or creatures are only “bit players” (commoners or other unimportant NPCs) and sometimes because only
certain aspects of a creature’s abilities are relevant to the adventure.
For instance, the stat block for a gold dragon would only need
to mention that the dragon can breathe underwater if the place
where it’s encountered includes a body of water large enough for
this ability to be potentially useful.
Following is a summary of the main elements of a statistics
block. All the terms used in this summary are discussed in more

detail elsewhere in the rules. For examples of various types of
character stat blocks, see the sample NPCs in Chapter 4. For examples of stat blocks describing various kinds of creatures, see Familiars on pages 200–204.
Name: The word or phrase that identifies the creature.
Race and Class: Provided only for characters with levels.
CR: The Challenge Rating of an individual creature of this kind.
Size and Type: The creature’s
size category and its type (and
subtype or subtypes, if applicable).
HD: The creature’s Hit Dice
(and any hit points it gains or
loses because of its Constitution modifier).
hp: The creature’s full
normal hit point total (usually
average rolls on each Hit Die).
Init: The creature’s modifier
on initiative checks.
Spd: The creature’s base land
speed, followed by speeds for
other modes of movement if
applicable.
AC: The creature’s Armor
Class against most regular
attacks, followed by its AC
against touch attacks (which
disregard armor) and its AC
when flat-footed (or at any
other time when denied its
Dexterity bonus to AC).
Base Atk: The creature’s base
attack bonus without any modifiers.
Grp: The creature’s grapple
bonus (base attack + size modifier + Str bonus).
Atk: The single attack the
creature makes when taking
an attack action (modified attack bonus, whether the attack is
melee or ranged, how much damage the attack deals, and the
weapon used for the attack).
Full Atk: All the physical attacks the creature can make when
taking a full attack action (often the same as the Atk entry).
Space/Reach: How large a square the creature takes up on the
battle grid and how far its natural reach extends. The vast majority
of creatures have a space/reach of 5 ft./5 ft.; as such, a stat block
might omit this entry unless it’s different from the “default.”
SA: The creature’s special attacks (some of which may be described in more detail beneath the Skills and Feats paragraph).
SQ: The creature’s special qualities (some of which may be described in more detail beneath the Skills and Feats paragraph).
AL: The one- or two-letter abbreviation denoting the creature’s
alignment.
SV: The creature’s saving throw bonuses.
Ability Scores: The creature’s ability scores in the customary
order (Str, Dex, Con, Int, Wis, Cha).
Skills and Feats: In a new paragraph, a list of all the creature’s skill
modifiers and feats.
Details: Special attacks and special qualities that need further
explanation are covered next.
Spells Known: For sorcerers and members of other classes that do
not prepare spells.
Spells Prepared: For wizards, clerics, and members of other classes
that prepare spells. A cleric’s stat block also includes the domains
he has access to (with domain spells asterisked in the list of pre-

CHAPTER 3:

Ghouls (3): CR 1; Medium undead; HD 2d12; hp 13, 13, 18;
Init +2; Spd 30 ft.; AC 14, touch 12, flat-footed 12; Base Atk +1; Grp
+2; Atk +2 melee (1d6+1 plus paralysis, bite); Full Atk +2 melee
(1d6+1 plus paralysis, bite) and +0/+0 melee (1d3 plus paralysis, 2
claws); Space/Reach 5 ft./5 ft.; SA ghoul fever, paralysis; SQ +2
turn resistance, undead traits; AL CE; SV Fort +0, Ref +2, Will +5;
Str 13, Dex 15, Con —, Int 13, Wis 14, Cha 12.
Skills and Feats: Balance +6,
Climb +5, Hide +6, Jump +5,
Move Silently +6, Spot +7;
Multiattack (see page 304 of
the Monster Manual).
Ghoul Fever (Su): Those hit
by a ghoul’s bite must succeed
on a DC 12 Fortitude save or
succumb to ghoul fever (incubation period 1 day, damage
1d3 Con and 1d3 Dex). A
humanoid who dies of ghoul
fever rises as a ghoul at midnight of the next day (see page
118 of the Monster Manual for
more information).
Paralysis (Ex): Those hit by a
ghoul’s bite or claw attack
must succeed on a DC 12 Fortitude save or be paralyzed for
1d4+1 minutes. Elves are
immune to this paralysis.
Undead Traits: Darkvision
out to 60 feet. Immunity to
poison, magic sleep effects,
paralysis, stunning, disease,
and death effects. Not subject
to critical hits, nonlethal
damage, ability drain, or
energy drain. Immunity to
any effect that requires a Fortitude save (unless the effect
also works on objects or is
harmless). Not at risk of death from massive damage, but
destroyed when reduced to 0 hit points or lower. Not affected by
raise dead or reincarnate spells or abilities.

85

ADVENTURES

CHAPTER 3:

pared spells), his deity (if applicable), and the granted powers of
his domains.
Spellbook: Optionally (in addition to Spells Prepared), you may
wish to provide the contents of a caster’s spellbook in her stat
block. (See the sample NPC wizards on page 125 for what this
looks like.) This information can be important for an NPC whom
the characters might encounter repeatedly over the course of several days (so that she could choose to prepare different spells on
different days).
Possessions: A list of items the creature or character is wearing or
carrying.
Obviously, any stat block you create for your own use can be as
sparse or as detailed as you need it to be. If all that really matters
for an encounter is a creature’s hit points, AC, and attack bonus,
then those are the only characteristics you need to make note of.
Use your own stat blocks to streamline the action during play by
enabling you to have what you need at your fingertips—but don’t
feel that your stat blocks have to provide every conceivable statistic
for every creature (unless that’s what you want them to do, of course).

WILDERNESS ADVENTURES

In the great outdoors, dragons cross the sky, looking for prey on
the ground, while tribes of hobgoblins stalk their own victims. An
ankheg bursts forth from the earth, and monstrous spiders drop
from the trees.
Adventures and encounters outdoors can be as interesting as
those underground, but they’re different in many ways. Characters have greater freedom to roam. In a dungeon, characters are
constrained by the doors and hallways available to them, but in a
forest, they can travel in any direction they please.
The open wilderness can be liberating for the players, and it
demands that the DM be flexible. You don’t have to have every
5-foot square of the Abbor-Alz Mountains mapped before the
adventure begins, but you should be able to draw the terrain in
the immediate area when the red dragon roars out of the sky.
Furthermore, you should know—in general terms, at least—what
the characters will find if they cross that ridge or ford that stream.
A second difference between wilderness adventures and dungeon adventures is the possibility of retreat. In a dungeon, the PCs
can generally retreat and recuperate without too much difficulty.
But the wilderness is by definition far from the comforts of civilization, so the characters have to rely more on their own
resources. There probably isn’t a friendly temple full of healers in
the middle of the trackless swamp the characters are fighting their
way through, so the PC cleric will have to handle all the party’s
healing. There’s no inn, so some characters will have to stay awake
and keep watch while the other characters sleep. And if the characters are beset by foes, they have no safe place to run to—or at
least no safe place nearby.
Finally, wilderness adventures differ from dungeon ones because the wilderness is often ancillary to the characters’ larger purpose. Wilderness adventures usually involve travel through the
wild to a specific destination, not exploration of the wilderness for
its own sake. A dungeon is a place you travel to, but the wilderness
is a place you travel through. Characters are less inclined to linger
without a good reason, because they’re usually on their way to
someplace else.
For obvious reasons, doors, floors, and walls are few and far between in the wilderness. Instead the characters will have to contend with everything from towering trees to quicksand as they
make their way through the wilderness. The kinds of dangers
they’ll face depend on the terrain (forest, mountain, and so on)
and climate (hot, temperate, or cold).

86

GETTING LOST
There are many ways to get lost in the wilderness. Following an
obvious road, trail, or feature such as a stream or shoreline prevents any possibility of becoming lost, but travelers striking off
cross-country may become disoriented—especially in conditions
of poor visibility or in difficult terrain.
Poor Visibility: Any time characters cannot see at least 60
feet in the prevailing conditions of visibility, they may become
lost. Characters traveling through fog, snow, or a downpour
might easily lose the ability to see any landmarks not in their
immediate vicinity. Similarly, characters traveling at night may
be at risk, too, depending on the quality of their light sources, the
amount of moonlight, and whether they have darkvision or lowlight vision.
Difficult Terrain: Any character in forest, moor, hill, or mountain terrain may become lost if he or she moves away from a trail,
road, stream, or other obvious path or track. Forests are especially
dangerous because they obscure far-off landmarks and make it
hard to see the sun or stars.
Chance to Get Lost: If conditions exist that make getting lost
a possibility, the character leading the way must succeed on a Survival check or become lost. The difficulty of this check varies
based on the terrain, the visibility conditions, and whether or not
the character has a map of the area being traveled through. Refer
to the table below and use the highest DC that applies.
Moor or hill, map
Mountain, map
Moor or hill, no map

Survival DC
6
Poor visibility
8
Mountain, no map
10
Forest

Survival DC
12
12
15

A character with at least 5 ranks in Knowledge (geography) or
Knowledge (local) pertaining to the area being traveled through
gains a +2 bonus on this check.
Check once per hour (or portion of an hour) spent in local or
overland movement to see if travelers have become lost. In the
case of a party moving together, only the character leading the
way makes the check. (Tip: Make this check in secret, since the
characters may not realize that they’re lost right away.)
Effects of Being Lost: If a party becomes lost, it is no longer
certain of moving in the direction it intended to travel. Randomly
determine the direction in which the party actually travels during
each hour of local or overland movement. The characters’ movement continues to be random until they blunder into a landmark
they can’t miss, or until they recognize that they are lost and make
an effort to regain their bearings.
Recognizing that You’re Lost: Once per hour of random travel, each
character in the party may attempt a Survival check (DC 20, –1 per
hour of random travel) to recognize that they are no longer certain
of their direction of travel. Some circumstances may make it obvious that the characters are lost; if they expected to reach a certain
spot within an hour but three or four hours pass by with no sign of
their destination, that’s a bad sign.
Setting a New Course: A lost party is also uncertain of determining in which direction it should travel in order to reach a desired
objective—even an objective such as “the point where we left the
road and went off into these dratted woods.” Determining the correct direction of travel once a party has become lost requires a Survival check (DC 15, +2 per hour of random travel). If a character
fails this check, he chooses a random direction as the “correct”
direction for resuming travel. (Tip: Again, this is a check you
should make in secret. The lost characters may think they know
the way to travel after regaining their bearings, but could be
entirely wrong again.)
Once the characters are traveling along their new course, correct or incorrect, they may get lost again. If the conditions still
make it possible for travelers to become lost, check once per hour

Forest terrain can be divided into three categories: sparse,
medium, and dense. An immense forest could have all three categories within its borders, with more sparse terrain at the outer
edge of the forest and dense forest at its heart.
The table below describes in general terms how likely it is that
a given square has a terrain element in it. You shouldn’t roll for
each square. Instead, use the percentages in the table below to
guide the maps you create.

Forest Terrain Features
Typical trees
Massive trees
Light undergrowth
Heavy undergrowth

———— Category of Forest ————
Sparse
Medium
Dense
50%
70%
80%
—
10%
20%
50%
70%
50%
—
20%
50%

Trees: The most important terrain element in a forest is the trees,
obviously. Place a dot in the center of each square that you decide
has a tree in it, and don’t worry about the tree’s exact location within
the square. A creature standing in the same square as a tree gains a
+2 bonus to Armor Class and a +1 bonus on Reflex saves (these
bonuses don’t stack with cover bonuses from other sources). The
presence of a tree doesn’t otherwise affect a creature’s fighting space,
because it’s assumed that the creature is using the tree to its advantage when it can. The trunk of a typical tree has AC 4, hardness 5,
and 150 hp. A DC 15 Climb check is sufficient to climb a tree.
Medium and dense forests have massive trees as well. These
trees take up an entire square and provide cover to anyone behind
them. They have AC 3, hardness 5, and 600 hp. Like their smaller
counterparts, it takes a DC 15 Climb check to climb them.
Undergrowth: Vines, roots, and short bushes cover much of the
ground in a forest. A space covered with light undergrowth costs 2
squares of movement to move into, and it provides concealment.
Undergrowth increases the DC of Tumble and Move Silently
checks by 2 because the leaves and branches get in the way.
Heavy undergrowth costs 4 squares of movement to move into,
and it provides concealment with a 30% miss chance (instead of the
usual 20%). It increases the DC of Tumble and Move Silently checks
by 5. Heavy undergrowth is easy to hide in, granting a +5 circumstance bonus on Hide checks. Running and charging are impossible.
Squares with undergrowth are often clustered together. Undergrowth and trees aren’t mutually exclusive; it’s common for a
5-foot square to have both a tree and undergrowth.
Forest Canopy: It’s common for elves and other forest
dwellers to live on raised platforms far above the surface floor.

d%
01–04
05–10
11–16

Encounter
Average EL
1d4+3 dryads
8
1 treant
8
5th-level lizardfolk druid NPC
7
and 2 centaurs
17–19
1 nymph
7
20–25
1d4 unicorns
7
26–33
1d6+1 wolves
7
34–43
1d4 centaurs
6
44–51
1d4 dire wolves
6
52–61
1d3 owlbears
6
62–69
1d3 pixies
6
70–73
1 ghast (ghoul) and 2 ghouls
5
74–79
5th-level gnoll ranger NPC
5
80–85
1d4+1 satyrs
5
86–88
1d4+1 owlbear skeletons
5
89–93
1 wraith
5
94–97
2 black bears (animal)
4
98–100
1 wereboar (lycanthrope)
4
For information on how to build your own wilderness encounter
tables, see page 95.

ADVENTURES

FOREST TERRAIN

Sample Temperate Forest Encounter Table (EL 6)

CHAPTER 3:

of travel as described in Chance to Get Lost, above, to see if the
party maintains its new course or begins to move at random again.
Conflicting Directions: It’s possible that several characters may
attempt to determine the right direction to proceed after becoming lost. That’s just fine. You make a Survival check for each character in secret, then tell the players whose characters succeeded
the correct direction in which to travel, and tell the players whose
characters failed a random direction they think is right. (Tip: A few
extraneous die rolls behind your screen might make it less apparent which characters are right and which characters are wrong.)
Regaining Your Bearings: There are several ways to become
un-lost. First, if the characters successfully set a new course and
follow it to the destination they’re trying to reach, they’re not lost
anymore. Second, the characters through random movement
might run into an unmistakable landmark. Third, if conditions
suddenly improve—the fog lifts or the sun comes up—lost characters may attempt to set a new course, as described above, with a
+4 bonus on the Survival check. Finally, magic such as find the path
may make their course clear.

These wooden platforms generally have rope bridges (described
on page 64) between them. To get to the treehouses, characters
generally ascend the trees’ branches (Climb DC 15), use rope ladders (Climb DC 0), or take pulley elevators (which can be made to
rise a number of feet equal to a Strength check, made each round
as a full-round action). Creatures on platforms or branches in a
forest canopy are considered to have cover when fighting creatures on the ground, and in medium or dense forests they have
concealment as well.
Other Forest Terrain Elements: Fallen logs generally stand
about 3 feet high and provide cover just as low walls do. They
cost 5 feet of movement to cross. Forest streams are generally 5
to 10 feet wide and no more than 5 feet deep. Pathways wind
through most forests, allowing normal movement and providing
neither cover nor concealment. These paths are less common in
dense forests, but even unexplored forests will have occasional
game trails.
Stealth and Detection in a Forest: In a sparse forest, the maximum distance at which a Spot check for detecting the nearby
presence of others can succeed is 3d6×10 feet. In a medium
forest, this distance is 2d8×10 feet, and in a dense forest it is
2d6×10 feet.
Because any square with undergrowth provides concealment,
it’s usually easy for a creature to use the Hide skill in the forest.
Logs and massive trees provide cover, which also makes hiding
possible.
The background noise in the forest makes Listen checks more
difficult, increasing the DC of the check by 2 per 10 feet, not 1 (but
note that Move Silently is also more difficult in undergrowth).

Forest Fires (CR 6)
Most campfire sparks ignite nothing, but if conditions are dry,
winds are strong, or the forest floor is dried out and flammable, a
forest fire can result. Lightning strikes often set trees afire and
start forest fires in this way. Whatever the cause of the fire, travelers can get caught in the conflagration.
A forest fire can be spotted from as far away as 2d6×100 feet by
a character who makes a Spot check, treating the fire as a Colossal
creature (reducing the DC by 16). If all characters fail their Spot
checks, the fire moves closer to them. They automatically see it
when it closes to half the original distance.
Characters who are blinded or otherwise unable to make Spot
checks can feel the heat of the fire (and thus automatically “spot”
it) when it is 100 feet away.

87

ADVENTURES

CHAPTER 3:

The leading edge of a fire (the downwind side) can advance
faster than a human can run (assume 120 feet per round for winds
of moderate strength). Once a particular portion of the forest is
ablaze, it remains so for 2d4×10 minutes before dying to a smoking smolder. Characters overtaken by a forest fire may find the
leading edge of the fire advancing away from them faster than
they can keep up, trapping them deeper and deeper in its grasp.
Within the bounds of a forest fire, a character faces three dangers: heat damage, catching on fire, and smoke inhalation.
Heat Damage: Getting caught within a forest fire is even worse
than being exposed to extreme heat (see Heat Dangers, page 303).
Breathing the air causes a character to take 1d6 points of damage
per round (no save). In addition, a character must make a Fortitude save every 5 rounds (DC 15, +1 per previous check) or take
1d4 points of nonlethal damage. A character who holds his breath
can avoid the lethal damage, but not the nonlethal damage. Those
wearing heavy clothing or any sort of armor take a –4 penalty on
their saving throws. In addition, those wearing metal armor or
coming into contact with very hot metal are affected as if by a heat
metal spell (see page 239 of the Player’s Handbook).
Catching on Fire: Characters engulfed in a forest fire are at
risk of catching on fire when the leading edge of the fire overtakes
them, and are then at risk once per minute thereafter (see Catching on Fire, page 303).
Smoke Inhalation: Forest fires naturally produce a great deal
of smoke. A character who breathes heavy smoke must make a
Fortitude save each round (DC 15, +1 per previous check) or spend
that round choking and coughing. A character who chokes for 2
consecutive rounds takes 1d6 points of nonlethal damage. Also,
smoke obscures vision, providing concealment to characters
within it.

MARSH TERRAIN
Two categories of marsh exist: relatively dry moors and watery
swamps. Both are often bordered by lakes (described in Aquatic
Terrain, below), which effectively are a third category of terrain
found in marshes.
The table below describes terrain features found in marshes.
The percentages are indicative of typical marsh terrain and don’t
represent the exact chance that a given square will contain the terrain element.

Both shallow and deep bogs increase the DC of Move Silently
checks by 2.
Undergrowth: The bushes, rushes, and other tall grasses in
marshes function as undergrowth does in a forest (see above). A
square that is part of a bog does not also have undergrowth.
Quicksand: Patches of quicksand present a deceptively solid
appearance (appearing as undergrowth or open land) that may
trap careless characters. A character approaching a patch of quicksand at a normal pace is entitled to a DC 8 Survival check to spot
the danger before stepping in, but charging or running characters
don’t have a chance to detect a hidden bog before blundering in. A
typical patch of quicksand is 20 feet in diameter; the momentum
of a charging or running character carries him or her 1d2×5 feet
into the quicksand.
Effects of Quicksand: Characters in quicksand must make a DC 10
Swim check every round to simply tread water in place, or a DC 15
Swim check to move 5 feet in whatever direction is desired. If a
trapped character fails this check by 5 or more, he sinks below the
surface and begins to drown whenever he can no longer hold his
breath (see the Swim skill description, page 84 of the Player’s Handbook, and Drowning, page 304 of this book).
Characters below the surface of a bog may swim back to the surface with a successful Swim check (DC 15, +1 per consecutive
round of being under the surface).
Rescue: Pulling out a character trapped in quicksand can be difficult. A rescuer needs a branch, spear haft, rope, or similar tool
that enables him to reach the victim with one end of it. Then he
must make a DC 15 Strength check to successfully pull the
victim, and the victim must make a DC 10 Strength check to hold
onto the branch, pole, or rope. If the victim fails to hold on, he
must make a DC 15 Swim check immediately to stay above the
surface. If both checks succeed, the victim is pulled 5 feet closer
to safety.
Hedgerows: Common in moors, hedgerows are tangles of
stones, soil, and thorny bushes.
Narrow hedgerows function as low walls, and it takes 15 feet of
movement to cross them.
Wide hedgerows are more than 5 feet tall and take up entire
squares. They provide total cover, just as a wall does. It takes 4
squares of movement to move through a square with a wide
hedgerow; creatures that succeed on a DC 10 Climb check need
only 2 squares of movement to move through the square.

Marsh Terrain Features
Shallow bog
Deep bog
Light undergrowth
Heavy undergrowth

88

— Marsh Category —
Moor
Swamp
20%
40%
5%
20%
30%
20%
10%
20%

Bogs: If a square is part of a shallow bog, it has deep mud or
standing water of about 1 foot in depth. It costs 2 squares of movement to move into a square with a shallow bog, and the DC of
Tumble checks in such a square increases by 2.
A square that is part of a deep bog has roughly 4 feet of standing
water. It costs Medium or larger creatures 4 squares of movement
to move into a square with a deep bog, or characters can swim if
they wish. Small or smaller creatures must swim to move through
a deep bog. Tumbling is impossible in a deep bog.
The water in a deep bog provides cover for Medium or larger
creatures. Smaller creatures gain improved cover (+8 bonus to AC,
+4 bonus on Reflex saves). Medium or larger creatures can crouch
as a move action to gain this improved cover. Creatures with this
improved cover take a –10 penalty on attacks against creatures
that aren’t underwater.
Deep bog squares are usually clustered together and surrounded by an irregular ring of shallow bog squares.

Sample Temperate Marsh Encounter Table (EL 9)
d%
01–07
08–11
12–15
16–19
20–30
31–38
39–45
46–53
54–63
64–70
71–81
82–91
92–97
98–100

Encounter
1 eleven-headed hydra
1d3 mohrgs
1 young adult black dragon
1d4+2 5th-level kobold sorcerer NPCs
1d3 chuuls
1d3 medusas
1d4+2 5th-level goblin rogue NPCs
1d3 spectres
1d4 will-o’-wisps
1d4 gray render zombies
1 gray render
1 hag covey (sea hag, annis, green hag)
2d4 harpies
1 shambling mound

Average EL
10
10
9
9
9
9
9
9
9
9
8
8
8
6

Other Marsh Terrain Elements: Some marshes, particularly
swamps, have trees just as forests do, usually clustered in small
stands. Paths lead across many marshes, winding to avoid bog
areas. As in forests, paths allow normal movement and don’t provide the concealment that undergrowth does.
Stealth and Detection in a Marsh: In a moor, the maximum
distance at which a Spot check for detecting the nearby presence

of others can succeed is 6d6×10 feet. In a swamp, this distance is
2d8×10 feet.
Undergrowth and deep bogs provide plentiful concealment, so
it’s easy to hide in a marsh.
A marsh imposes no penalties on Listen checks, and using the
Move Silently skill is more difficult in both undergrowth and bogs.

HILLS TERRAIN

Gradual slope
Steep slope
Cliff
Light undergrowth

——Hills Category——
Gentle Hill Rugged Hill
75%
40%
20%
50%
5%
10%
15%
15%

To draw hills terrain quickly, decide where you want your hilltops and valleys to be, then surround them with rings of gradual
slope and steep slope squares. If you use cliffs, put them next to or
within steep slope squares. Finally, draw arrows pointing downhill.
Gradual Slope: This incline isn’t steep enough to affect movement, but characters gain a +1 bonus on melee attacks against foes
downhill from them.
Steep Slope: Characters moving uphill (to an adjacent square
of higher elevation) must spend 2 squares of movement to enter
each square of steep slope. Characters running or charging downhill (moving to an adjacent square of lower elevation) must succeed on a DC 10 Balance check upon entering the first steep slope
square. Mounted characters make a DC 10 Ride check instead.
Characters who fail this check stumble and must end their movement 1d2×5 feet later. Characters who fail by 5 or more fall prone
in the square where they end their movement.
A steep slope increases the DC of Tumble checks by 2.
Cliff: A cliff typically requires a DC 15 Climb check to scale and
is 1d4×10 feet tall, although the needs of your map may mandate a
taller cliff. A cliff isn’t perfectly vertical, taking up 5-foot squares if
it’s less than 30 feet tall and 10-foot squares if it’s 30 feet or taller.
Light Undergrowth: Sagebrush and other scrubby bushes
grow on hills, athough they rarely cover the landscape as they do
in forests and marshes. Light undergrowth provides concealment
and increases the DC of Tumble and Move Silently checks by 2.
Other Hills Terrain Elements: Trees aren’t out of place in hills
terrain, and valleys often have active streams (5 to 10 feet wide and
no more than 5 feet deep) or dry streambeds (treat as a trench 5 to
10 feet across) in them. If you add a stream or streambed, remember that water always flows downhill.
Stealth and Detection in Hills: In gentle hills, the maximum
distance at which a Spot check for detecting the nearby presence
of others can succeed is 2d10×10 feet. In rugged hills, this distance is 2d6×10 feet.
Hiding in hills terrain can be difficult if there isn’t undergrowth
around. A hilltop or ridge provides enough cover to hide from
anyone below the hilltop or ridge.
Hills don’t affect Listen or Move Silently checks.

Encounter
1 young copper dragon
1 bulette
1 hill giant
1d3 displacer beasts
1d3 griffons
1 wyvern
5th-level human bard NPC
1 ogre and 1d4+2 hobgoblin warriors
1d3 ogre zombies
1 rast
1d3 wights
1d3 hippogriffs
1 doppelganger

Average EL
7
7
7
6
6
6
5
5
5
5
5
4
3

MOUNTAIN TERRAIN
The three mountain terrain categories are alpine meadows,
rugged mountains, and forbidding mountains. As characters
ascend into a mountainous area, they’re likely to face each terrain
category in turn, beginning with alpine meadows, extending
through rugged mountains, and reaching forbidding mountains
near the summit.
To draw a map for mountain terrain, use the percentages in
the table below to arrange the terrain elements. As with hills
terrain, you’ll want to pay close attention to uphill and downhill,
identifying the direction of descent on slopes. Gentle slopes,
steep slopes, cliffs, and chasms are mutually exclusive. Either of
the slope types may have undergrowth, scree, or dense rubble
on it.
Mountains have an important terrain element, the rock wall,
that is marked on the border between squares rather than taking
up squares itself. After you draw the other terrain elements on the
map, add rock walls, placing them within or adjacent to steep
slopes and cliffs.

ADVENTURES

Hills Terrain Features

d%
01–02
03–05
06–09
10–17
18–27
28–34
35–44
45–58
59–68
69–77
78–85
86–95
96–100

CHAPTER 3:

A hill can exist in most other types of terrain, but hills can also
dominate the landscape. Hills terrain is divided into two categories: gentle hills and rugged hills. Hills terrain often serves as a
transition zone between rugged terrain such as mountains and flat
terrain such as plains.
Hills terrain requires extra forethought on your part because players will naturally want to know which direction is uphill. The table
below indicates typical percentages of gradual and steep slopes in
hills terrain, but you’ll want to draw your map carefully so uphill and
downhill are clear and logical. The percentages below include no
provision for flat space, but you may want the tops of your hills and
the bottoms of your valleys to have at least a few squares of flat space.

Sample Temperate Hills Encounter Table (EL 5)

Mountain Terrain Features
Gradual slope
Steep slope
Cliff
Chasm
Light undergrowth
Scree
Dense rubble

———— Mountain Category ————
Alpine Meadow
Rugged
Forbidding
50%
25%
15%
40%
55%
55%
10%
15%
20%
—
5%
10%
20%
10%
—
—
20%
30%
—
20%
30%

Gradual and Steep Slopes: These function as described in
Hills Terrain, above.
Cliff: These terrain elements also function like their hills terrain counterparts, but they’re typically 2d6×10 feet tall. Cliffs
taller than 80 feet take up 20 feet of horizontal space.
Chasm: Usually formed by natural geological processes,
chasms function like pits in a dungeon setting. Chasms aren’t
hidden, so characters won’t fall into them by accident (although
bull rushes are another story). A typical chasm is 2d4×10 feet deep,
at least 20 feet long, and anywhere from 5 feet to 20 feet wide. It
takes a DC 15 Climb check to climb out of a chasm.
In forbidding mountain terrain, chasms are typically 2d8×10
feet deep.
Light Undergrowth: This functions as described in Forest Terrain, above.
Scree: A field of shifting gravel, scree doesn’t affect speed, but it
can be treacherous on a slope. The DC of Balance and Tumble
checks increases by 2 if there’s scree on a gradual slope and by 5 if
there’s scree on a steep slope. The DC of Move silently checks increases by 2 if the scree is on a slope of any kind.

89

ADVENTURES

CHAPTER 3:

Dense Rubble: The ground is covered with rocks of all sizes. It
costs 2 squares of movement to enter a square with dense rubble.
The DC of Balance and Tumble checks on dense rubble increases
by 5, and the DC of Move Silently checks increases by +2.
Rock Wall: A vertical plane of stone, rock walls require DC 25
Climb checks to ascend. A typical rock wall is 2d4×10 feet tall in
rugged mountains and 2d8×10 feet tall in forbidding mountains.
Rock walls are drawn on the edges of squares, not in the squares
themselves.
Cave Entrance: Found in cliff and steep slope squares and next
to rock walls, cave entrances are typically between 5 and 20 feet
wide and 5 feet deep. Beyond the entrance, a cave could be anything from a simple chamber to the entrance to an elaborate dungeon. Caves used as monster lairs typically have 1d3 rooms that
are 1d4×10 feet across.
Other Mountain Terrain Features: Most alpine meadows
begin above the tree line, so trees and other forest elements are
rare in the mountains. Mountain terrain can include active
streams (5 to 10 feet wide and no more than 5 feet deep) and dry
streambeds (treat as a trench 5 to 10 feet across). Particularly
high-altitude areas tend to be colder than the lowland areas that
surround them, so they may be covered in ice sheets (described
below).
Stealth and Detection in Mountains: As a guideline, the
maximum distance in mountain terrain at which a Spot check for
detecting the nearby presence of others can succeed is 4d10×10
feet. Certain peaks and ridgelines afford much better vantage
points, of course, and twisting valleys and canyons have much
shorter spotting distances. Because there’s little vegetation to
obstruct line of sight, the specifics on your map are your best
guide for the range at which an encounter could begin.
As in hills terrain, a ridge or peak provides enough cover to hide
from anyone below the high point.
It’s easier to hear faraway sounds in the mountains. The DC of
Listen checks increases by 1 per 20 feet between listener and
source, not per 10 feet.

Sample Cold Mountains Encounter Table (EL 11)
d%
01–04
05–07
08–19
20–29
30–47
48–58
59–75
76–88
89–100

Encounter
1 beholder
1 young adult silver dragon
1d3 10th-level half-orc barbarian NPCs
1 devourer
1d3 frost giants
1d4 greater shadows
1 troll hunter
10th-level drow wizard NPC
and 1 shield guardian
2d4 trolls

Average EL
13
13
12
11
11
11
11
11
9

Avalanches (CR 7)

90

The combination of high peaks and heavy snowfalls means that
avalanches are a deadly peril in many mountainous areas. While
avalanches of snow and ice are common, it’s also possible to have
an avalanche of rock and soil.
An avalanche can be spotted from as far away as 1d10×500 feet
downslope by a character who makes a DC 20 Spot check, treating the avalanche as a Colossal creature. If all characters fail their
Spot checks to determine the encounter distance, the avalanche
moves closer to them, and they automatically become aware of it
when it closes to half the original distance.
It’s possible to hear an avalanche coming even if you can’t see it.
Under optimum conditions (no other loud noises occurring), a
character who makes a DC 15 Listen check can hear the avalanche
or landslide when it is 1d6×500 feet away. This check might have a
DC of 20, 25, or higher in conditions where hearing is difficult
(such as in the middle of a thunderstorm).

A landslide or avalanche consists of two distinct areas: the bury
zone (in the direct path of the falling debris) and the slide zone
(the area the debris spreads out to encompass). Characters in the
bury zone always take damage from the avalanche; characters in
the slide zone may be able to get out of the way.
Characters in the bury zone take 8d6 points of damage, or half
that amount if they make a DC 15 Reflex save. They are subsequently buried (see below).
Characters in the slide zone take 3d6 points of damage, or no damage
if they make a DC 15 Reflex save. Those who fail their saves are buried.
Buried characters take 1d6 points of nonlethal damage per
minute. If a buried character falls unconscious, he or she must
make a DC 15 Constitution check or take 1d6 points of lethal
damage each minute thereafter until freed or dead.
The typical avalanche has a width of 1d6×100 feet, from one
edge of the slide zone to the opposite edge. The bury zone in the
center of the avalanche is half as wide as the avalanche’s full width.
To determine the precise location of characters in the path of an
avalanche, roll 1d6×20; the result is the number of feet from the
center of the path taken by the bury zone to the center of the
party’s location. Avalanches of snow and ice advance at a speed of
500 feet per round, and rock avalanches travel at a speed of 250
feet per round.

Mountain Travel
High altitude can be extremely fatiguing—or sometimes
deadly—to creatures that aren’t used to it. Cold becomes extreme,
and the lack of oxygen in the air can wear down even the most
hardy of warriors.
Acclimated Characters: Creatures accustomed to high altitude generally fare better than lowlanders. Any creature with an
Environment entry that includes mountains is considered native
to the area, and acclimated to the high altitude. Characters can also
acclimate themselves by living at high altitude for a month. Characters who spend more than two months away from the mountains must reacclimate themselves when they return.
Undead, constructs, and other creatures that do not breathe are
immune to altitude effects.
Altitude Zones: In general, mountains present three possible
altitude bands: low pass, low peak/high pass, and high peak.
Low Pass (lower than 5,000 feet): Most travel in low mountains
takes place in low passes, a zone consisting largely of alpine meadows and forests. Travelers may find the going difficult (which is
reflected in the movement modifiers for traveling through mountains), but the altitude itself has no game effect.
Low Peak or High Pass (5,000 to 15,000 feet): Ascending to the highest slopes of low mountains, or most normal travel through high
mountains, falls into this category. All nonacclimated creatures
labor to breathe in the thin air at this altitude. Characters must
succeed on a Fortitude save each hour (DC 15, +1 per previous
check) or be fatigued. The fatigue ends when the character descends to an altitude with more air.
Acclimated characters do not have to attempt the Fortitude save.
High Peak (more than 15,000 feet): The highest mountains exceed
20,000 feet in height. At these elevations, creatures are subject to
both high altitude fatigue (as described above) and altitude sickness, whether or not they’re acclimated to high altitudes.
Altitude sickness represents long-term oxygen deprivation, and
it affects mental and physical ability scores. After each 6-hour
period a character spends at an altitude of over 15,000 feet, he
must succeed on a Fortitude save (DC 15, +1 per previous check)
or take 1 point of damage to all ability scores.
Creatures acclimated to high altitude receive a +4 competence
bonus on their saving throws to resist high altitude effects and
altitude sickness, but eventually even seasoned mountaineers
must abandon these dangerous elevations.

DESERT TERRAIN
Desert terrain exists in warm, temperate, and cold climates, but all
deserts share one common trait: little rain. The three categories of
desert terrain are tundra (cold deserts), rocky desert (often temperate), and sandy desert (often warm).

Desert Terrain Features

d%
01–07
08–15
16–23
24–31
32–41
42–49
50–57
58–69
70–80
81–88
89–96
97–100

Encounter
Average EL
1 androsphinx
9
1 gynosphinx
8
1d3 lamias
8
1d3 basilisks
7
1 criosphinx
7
5th-level human monk NPC
7
and 5th-level human bard NPC
1 flesh golem
7
1d3 hieracosphinxes
7
1 Huge monstrous scorpion (vermin)
7
1d3 jann (genie)
6
1d4+2 Large monstrous scorpions (vermin)
6
1 mummy
5

Tundra differs from the other desert categories in two important ways. Because snow and ice cover much of the landscape, it’s
easy to find water. And during the height of summer, the permafrost thaws to a depth of a foot or so, turning the landscape into
a vast field of mud. The muddy tundra affects movement and skill
use as the shallow bogs described in marsh terrain, although
there’s little standing water.
The table above describes terrain elements found in each of the
three desert categories. The percentages are intended to guide
your map-drawing; don’t roll for each square. The terrain elements on this table are mutually exclusive; for instance, a square
of tundra may contain either light undergrowth or an ice sheet,
but not both.
Light Undergrowth: Consisting of scrubby, hardy bushes
and cacti, light undergrowth functions as described for other terrain types.
Ice Sheet: The ground is covered with slippery ice. It costs 2
squares of movement to enter a square covered by an ice sheet, and
the DC of Balance and Tumble checks there increases by 5. A DC
10 Balance check is required to run or charge across an ice sheet.
Light Rubble: Small rocks are strewn across the ground,
making nimble movement more difficult more difficult. The DC
of Balance and Tumble checks increases by 2.
Dense Rubble: This terrain feature consists of more and larger
stones. It costs 2 squares of movement to enter a square with dense
rubble. The DC of Balance and Tumble checks increases by 5, and
the DC of Move Silently checks increases by 2.
Sand Dunes: Created by the action of wind on sand, sand
dunes function as hills that move. If the wind is strong and consistent, a sand dune can move several hundred feet in a week’s
time. Sand dunes can cover hundreds of squares. They always have
a gentle slope pointing in the direction of the prevailing wind and
a steep slope on the leeward side.
Other Desert Terrain Features: Tundra is sometimes bordered by forests, and the occasional tree isn’t out of place in the
cold wastes. Rocky deserts have towers and mesas consisting of

Sandstorms

ADVENTURES

Sample Warm Desert Encounter Table (EL 7)

CHAPTER 3:

Light undergrowth
Ice sheet
Light rubble
Dense rubble
Sand dunes

——— Desert Category ———
Tundra
Rocky
Sandy
15%
5%
5%
25%
—
—
5%
30%
10%
—
30%
5%
—
—
50%

flat ground surrounded on all sides by cliffs and steep slopes (described in Mountain Terrain, above). Sandy deserts sometimes
have quicksand; this functions as described in Marsh Terrain,
above, although desert quicksand is a waterless mixture of fine
sand and dust. All desert terrain is crisscrossed with dry
streambeds (treat as trenches 5 to 15 feet wide) that fill with water
on the rare occasions when rain falls.
Stealth and Detection in the Desert: In general, the maximum distance in desert terrain at which a Spot check for detecting the nearby presence of others can succeed is 6d6×20 feet;
beyond this distance, elevation changes and heat distortion in
warm deserts makes spotting impossible. The presence of dunes
in sandy deserts limits spotting distance to 6d6×10 feet.
The desert imposes neither bonuses nor penalties on Listen or
Spot checks. The scarcity of undergrowth or other elements that
offer concealment or cover makes hiding more difficult.
A sandstorm reduces visibility to 1d10×5 feet and provides a –4
penalty on Listen, Search, and Spot checks. A sandstorm deals 1d3
points of nonlethal damage per hour to any creatures caught in
the open, and leaves a thin coating of sand in its wake. Driving
sand creeps in through all but the most secure seals and seams, to
chafe skin and contaminate carried gear.

PLAINS TERRAIN
Plains are where most civilizations flourish, so they are often settled. Plains come in three categories: farms, grasslands, and battlefields. Farms are common in settled areas, of course, while grasslands represent untamed plains. The battlefields where large
armies clash are temporary places, usually reclaimed by natural
vegetation or the farmer’s plow. Battlefields represent a third terrain category because adventurers tend to spend a lot of time
there, not because they’re particularly prevalent.
The table below shows the proportions of terrain elements in
the different categories of plains. On a farm, light undergrowth
represents most mature grain crops, so farms growing vegetable
crops will have less light undergrowth, as will all farms during the
time between harvest and a few months after planting.
The terrain elements in the table below are mutually exclusive.

Plains Terrain Features
Light undergrowth
Heavy undergrowth
Light rubble
Trench
Berm

——— Plains Category ———
Farm
Grassland
Battlefield
40%
20%
10%
—
10%
—
—
—
10%
5%
—
5%
—
—
5%

Undergrowth: Whether they’re crops or natural vegetation,
the tall grasses of the plains function like light undergrowth in a
forest. Particularly thick bushes form patches of heavy undergrowth that dot the landscape in grasslands.
Light Rubble: On the battlefield, light rubble usually represents something that was destroyed: the ruins of a building or the
scattered remnants of a stone wall, for example. It functions as
described in the desert terrain section above.
Trench: Often dug before a battle to protect soldiers, a trench
functions as a low wall, except that it provides no cover against
adjacent foes. It costs 2 squares of movement to leave a trench, but
it costs nothing extra to enter one. Creatures outside a trench who
make a melee attack against a creature inside the trench gain a +1
bonus on melee attacks because they have higher ground.
In farm terrain, trenches are generally irrigation ditches.
Berm: A common defensive structure, a berm is a low, earthen
wall that slows movement and provides a measure of cover. Put a

91

ADVENTURES

CHAPTER 3:

berm on the map by drawing two adjacent rows of steep slope
(described in Hills Terrain, above), with the edges of the berm on
the downhill side. Thus, a character crossing a two-square berm
will travel uphill for 1 square, then downhill for 1 square. Twosquare berms provide cover as low walls for anyone standing
behind them. Larger berms provide the low wall benefit for
anyone standing 1 square downhill from the top of the berm.
Fences: Wooden fences are generally used to contain livestock
or impede oncoming soldiers. It costs an extra square of movement to cross a wooden fence. A stone fence provides a measure of
cover as well, functioning as low walls. Mounted characters can
cross a fence without slowing their movement if they succeed on
a DC 15 Ride check. If the check fails, the steed crosses the fence,
but the rider falls out of the saddle.

Sample Temperate Plains Encounter Table (EL 4)
d%
01–03
04–08
09–13
14–19
20–26
27–35
36–44
45–57
58–69
70–78
79–86
87–94
95–100

Encounter
1 half-dragon, 4th-level human fighter
1d4+2 worgs
1d3 cockatrices
1d3 locust swarms
5th-level human paladin NPC
1d3 blink dogs
1d3 giant soldier ants
1d4+4 goblins
1d3 wererats (lycanthrope)
1 vampire spawn
1 allip
1 ankheg
1d3 gnolls

Average EL
6
6
5
5
5
4
4
4
4
4
3
3
3

Other Plains Terrain Features: Occasional trees dot the landscape in many plains, although on battlefields they’re often felled
to provide raw material for siege engines (described in Urban Features, page 99). Hedgerows (described in Marsh Terrain, page 88)
are found in plains as well. Streams, generally 5 to 20 feet wide and
5 to 10 feet deep, are commonplace.
Stealth and Detection in Plains: In plains terrain, the maximum distance at which a Spot check for detecting the nearby
presence of others can succeed is 6d6×40 feet, although the
specifics of your map may restrict line of sight.
Plains terrain provides no bonuses or penalties on Listen and
Spot checks. Cover and concealment are not uncommon, so a
good place of refuge is often nearby, if not right at hand.

AQUATIC TERRAIN
Aquatic terrain is the least hospitable to most PCs, because they can’t
breathe there. Characters are as likely to find themselves unwillingly
thrust into the water (when it’s at the bottom of a pit, for example) as
they are to intentionally seek adventure under the waves.

Aquatic terrain doesn’t offer the variety that land terrain does.
The ocean floor holds many marvels, including undersea analogues of any of the terrain elements described earlier in this section. But if your characters find themselves in the water because
they were bull rushed off the deck of a pirate ship, the tall kelp
beds hundreds of feet below them don’t matter.
Accordingly, these rules simply divide aquatic terrain into two
categories: flowing water (such as streams and rivers) and nonflowing water (such as lakes and oceans).

Sample Temperate Aquatic Encounter Table (EL 8)
d%
01–04
05–08
09–17
18–28
29–39
40–56
57–70
71–83
84–94
95–100

Encounter
1 juvenile bronze dragon
1 dragon turtle
1 giant squid (animal)
1 giant octopus (animal)
1d4+2 sea cats
1d4+2 Huge sharks (animal)
2d4+4 tritons
1 cachalot whale (animal)
1 water naga
1d4 merrow (ogre)

Average EL
9
9
9
8
8
8
8
7
7
6

Flowing Water: Large, placid rivers move at only a few miles
per hour, so they function as still water for most purposes. But
some rivers and streams are swifter; anything floating in them
moves downstream at a speed of 10 to 40 feet per round. The
fastest rapids send swimmers bobbing downstream at 60 to 90 feet
per round. Fast rivers are always at least rough water (Swim DC
15), and whitewater rapids are stormy water (Swim DC 20).
If a character is in moving water, move her downstream the
indicated distance at the end of her turn. A character trying to
maintain her position relative to the riverbank can spend some or
all of her turn swimming upstream.
Swept Away: Characters swept away by a river moving 60 feet
per round or faster must make DC 20 Swim checks every round to
avoid going under. If a character gets a check result of 5 or more
over the minimum necessary, he arrests his motion by catching a
rock, tree limb, or bottom snag—he is no longer being carried
along by the flow of the water. Escaping the rapids by reaching the
bank requires three DC 20 Swim checks in a row. Characters
arrested by a rock, limb, or snag can’t escape under their own
power unless they strike out into the water and attempt to swim
their way clear. Other characters can rescue them as if they were
trapped in quicksand (described in Marsh Terrain, above).
Nonflowing Water: Lakes and oceans simply require a swim
speed or successful Swim checks to move through (DC 10 in calm
water, DC 15 in rough water, DC 20 in stormy water). Characters
need a way to breathe if they’re underwater; failing that, they risk
drowning (see Drowning, page 304). When underwater, charac-

Table 3–22: Combat Adjustments Underwater

92

————— Attack/Damage —————
Condition
Slashing or Bludgeoning
Tail
Movement
Off Balance?4
Freedom of movement
normal/normal
normal/normal
normal
No
Has a swim speed
–2/half
normal
normal
No
Successful Swim check
–2/half1
–2/half
quarter or half2
No
Firm footing3
–2/half
–2/half
half
No
None of the above
–2/half
–2/half
normal
Yes
1 A creature without a freedom of movement effects or a swim speed makes grapple checks underwater at a –2 penalty, but deals damage normally
when grappling.
2 A successful Swim check lets a creature move one-quarter its speed as a move action or one-half its speed as a full-round action.
3 Creatures have firm footing when walking along the bottom, braced against a ship’s hull, or the like. A creature can only walk along the bottom if
it wears or carries enough gear to weigh itself down—at least 16 pounds for Medium creatures, twice that for each size category larger than
Medium, and half that for each size category smaller than Medium.
4 Creatures flailing about in the water (usually because they failed their Swim checks) have a hard time fighting effectively. An off-balance creature
loses its Dexterity bonus to Armor Class, and opponents gain a +2 bonus on attacks against it.

Land-based creatures can have considerable
difficulty when fighting in water. Water
affects a creature’s Armor Class, attack
rolls, damage, and movement. In some cases
a creature’s opponents may get a
bonus on attacks.
The effects are summarized in the
accompanying
table. They apply
whenever a character is swimming,
walking in chestdeep water, or walking along the bottom.
Ranged Attacks
Underwater: Thrown
weapons are ineffective
underwater, even when
launched from land.
Attacks with other
ranged weapons take a –2
penalty on attack rolls for
every 5 feet of water they pass
through, in addition to the
normal penalties for range.
Attacks from Land: Characters swimming, floating, or
treading water on the surface, or
wading in water at least chest deep, have improved cover (+8 bonus
to AC, +4 bonus on Reflex saves) from opponents on land. Landbound opponents who have freedom of movement effects ignore this
cover when making melee attacks against targets in the water. A
completely submerged creature has total cover against opponents
on land unless those opponents have freedom of movement effects.
Magical effects are unaffected except for those that require attack
rolls (which are treated like any other effects) and fire effects.
Fire: Nonmagical fire (including alchemist’s fire) does not
burn underwater. Spells or spell-like effects with the fire descriptor are ineffective underwater unless the caster makes a
Spellcraft check (DC 20 + spell level). If the check succeeds, the
spell creates a bubble of steam instead of its usual fiery effect, but
otherwise the spell works as described. A supernatural fire effect
is ineffective underwater unless its description states otherwise.
The surface of a body of water blocks line of effect for any fire
spell. If the caster has made a Spellcraft check to make the fire
spell usable underwater, the surface still blocks the spell’s line of
effect. For example, a fireball cast underwater cannot be targeted at
creatures above the surface.

In many wilderness areas, river floods are a common occurrence.
In spring, an enormous snowmelt can engorge the streams and
rivers it feeds. Other catastrophic events such as massive rainstorms or the destruction of a dam can create floods as well.
During a flood, rivers become wider, deeper, and swifter. Assume that a river rises by 1d10+10 feet during the spring flood,
and its width increases by a factor of 1d4×50%. Fords may disappear for days, bridges may be swept away, and even ferries might
not be able to manage the crossing of a flooded river.
A river in flood makes Swim checks one category harder (calm
water becomes rough, and rough water becomes stormy). Rivers
also become 50% swifter.

WEATHER
Sometimes weather can play an
important role in an adventure —rain can wash away
tracks, a thunderstorm can
force the adventurers to seek
shelter, or a gale can delay
their ship from sailing.
If your adventure involves
spending a lot of time outdoors, create a random table
to determine the weather
conditions in a particular
area. Local conditions
have a dramatic effect on
weather. High-altitude
areas are often much
colder than lowlands,
for example. The
presence of a mountain range can cause
an area adjacent to
the mountains
where little precipitation falls.
Table 3–23: Random Weather is
an appropriate
weather table
for general use,
and you can use it as the basis for
your own weather tables. Terms on that table are
defined as follows.
Calm: Wind speeds are light (0 to 10 mph).
Cold: Between 0° and 40° Fahrenheit during the day, 10 to 20
degrees colder at night.
Cold Snap: Lowers temperature by –10° F.
Downpour: Treat as rain (see Precipitation, below), but conceals as
fog. Can create floods (see above). A downpour lasts for 2d4 hours.
Heat Wave: Raises temperature by +10° F.
Hot: Between 85° and 110° Fahrenheit during the day, 10 to 20
degrees colder at night.
Moderate: Between 40° and 60° Fahrenheit during the day, 10
to 20 degrees colder at night.
Powerful Storm (Windstorm/Blizzard/Hurricane/Tornado):
Wind speeds are over 50 mph (see Table 3–24: Wind Effects). In
addition, blizzards are accompanied by heavy snow (1d3 feet), and
hurricanes are accompanied by downpours (see above). Windstorms last for 1d6 hours. Blizzards last for 1d3 days. Hurricanes
can last for up to a week, but their major impact on characters will
come in a 24-to-48-hour period when the center of the storm
moves through their area. Tornadoes are very short-lived (1d6×10
minutes), typically forming as part of a thunderstorm system.

ADVENTURES

Underwater Combat

Floods

CHAPTER 3:

ters can move in any direction as if they were flying with perfect
maneuverability.
Stealth and Detection Underwater: How far you can see
underwater depends on the water’s clarity. As a guideline, creatures can see 4d8×10 feet if the water is clear, and 1d8×10 feet if it’s
murky. Moving water is always murky, unless it’s in a particularly
large, slow-moving river.
It’s hard to find cover or concealment to hide underwater
(except along the seafloor). Listen and Move Silently checks function normally underwater.
Invisibility: An invisible creature displaces water and leaves a
visible, body-shaped “bubble” where the water was displaced. The
creature still has concealment (20% miss chance), but not total
concealment (50% miss chance).

93

Table 3–23: Random Weather

ADVENTURES

CHAPTER 3:

d%
Weather
Cold Climate
Temperate Climate1
01–70
Normal weather
Cold, calm
Normal for season2
71–80
Abnormal weather
Heat wave (01–30) or cold snap (31–100)
Heat wave (01–50) or cold snap (51–100)
81–90
Inclement weather
Precipitation (snow)
Precipitation (normal for season)
91–99
Storm
Snowstorm
Thunderstorm, snowstorm3
100
Powerful storm
Blizzard
Windstorm, blizzard4, hurricane, tornado
1 Temperate includes forest, hills, marsh, mountains, plains, and warm aquatic.
2 Winter is cold, summer is warm, spring and autumn are temperate. Marsh regions are slightly warmer in winter.

Precipitation: Roll d% to determine whether the precipitation is fog (01–30), rain/snow (31–90), or sleet/hail (91–00).
Snow and sleet occur only when the temperature is 30° Fahrenheit or below. Most precipitation lasts for 2d4 hours. By contrast,
hail lasts for only 1d20 minutes but usually accompanies 1d4
hours of rain.
Storm (Duststorm/Snowstorm/Thunderstorm): Wind speeds are
severe (30 to 50 mph) and visibility is cut by three-quarters.
Storms last for 2d4–1 hours. See Storms, below, for more details.
Warm: Between 60° and 85° Fahrenheit during the day, 10 to 20
degrees colder at night.
Windy: Wind speeds are moderate to strong (10 to 30 mph); see
Table 3–24 on the following page.

Rain, Snow, Sleet, and Hail
Bad weather frequently slows or halts travel and makes it virtually impossible to navigate from one spot to another. Torrential
downpours and blizzards obscure vision as effectively as a
dense fog.
Most precipitation is rain, but in cold conditions it can manifest
as snow, sleet, or hail. Precipitation of any kind followed by a cold
snap in which the temperature dips from above freezing to 30° F
or below may produce ice (see Cold Dangers, page 302).
Rain: Rain reduces visibility ranges by half, resulting in a –4
penalty on Spot and Search checks. It has the same effect on
flames, ranged weapon attacks, and Listen checks as severe wind
(see the following page).
Snow: Falling snow has the same effects on visibility, ranged
weapon attacks, and skill checks as rain, and it costs 2 squares of
movement to enter a snow-covered square. A day of snowfall
leaves 1d6 inches of snow on the ground.
Heavy Snow: Heavy snow has the same effects as normal snowfall, but also restricts visibility as fog does (see Fog, below). A day
of heavy snow leaves 1d4 feet of snow on the ground, and it costs
4 squares of movement to enter a square covered with heavy snow.
Heavy snow accompanied by strong or severe winds may result in
snowdrifts 1d4×5 feet deep, especially in and around objects big
enough to deflect the wind—a cabin or a large tent, for instance.
There is a 10% chance that a heavy snowfall is accompanied by
lightning (see Thunderstorm, below).
Snow has the same effect on flames as moderate wind (see the following page).
Sleet: Essentially frozen rain, sleet has the same effect as rain
while falling (except that its chance to extinguish protected
flames is 75%) and the same effect as snow once on the ground.
Hail: Hail does not reduce visibility, but the sound of falling hail
makes Listen checks more difficult (–4 penalty). Sometimes (5%
chance) hail can become large enough to deal 1 point of lethal
damage (per storm) to anything in the open. Once on the ground,
hail has the same effect on movement as snow.

Desert
Hot, calm
Hot, windy
Hot, windy
Duststorm
Downpour

matically extinguish candles, torches, and similar unprotected
flames. They cause protected flames, such as those of lanterns, to
dance wildly and have a 50% chance to extinguish these lights. See
Table 3–24: Wind Effects for possible consequences to creatures
caught outside without shelter during such a storm. Storms are
divided into the following three types.
Duststorm (CR 3): These desert storms differ from other storms
in that they have no precipitation. Instead, a duststorm blows fine
grains of sand that obscure vision, smother unprotected flames,
and can even choke protected flames (50% chance). Most duststorms are accompanied by severe winds (see the following page)
and leave behind a deposit of 1d6 inches of sand. However, there
is a 10% chance for a greater duststorm to be accompanied by
windstorm-magnitude winds (see Table 3–24: Wind Effects).
These greater duststorms deal 1d3 points of nonlethal damage
each round to anyone caught out in the open without shelter and
also pose a choking hazard (see Drowning, page 304—except that
a character with a scarf or similar protection across her mouth and
nose does not begin to choke until after a number of rounds equal
to 10 × her Constitution score). Greater duststorms leave 2d3–1
feet of fine sand in their wake.
Snowstorm: In addition to the wind and precipitation common
to other storms, snowstorms leave 1d6 inches of snow on the
ground afterward.
Thunderstorm: In addition to wind and precipitation (usually
rain, but sometimes also hail), thunderstorms are accompanied
by lightning that can pose a hazard to characters without proper
shelter (especially those in metal armor). As a rule of thumb,
assume one bolt per minute for a 1-hour period at the center of
the storm. Each bolt causes electricity damage equal to 1d10
eight-sided dice. One in ten thunderstorms is accompanied by a
tornado (see below).
Powerful Storms: Very high winds and torrential precipitation reduce visibility to zero, making Spot, Search, and Listen
checks and all ranged weapon attacks impossible. Unprotected
flames are automatically extinguished, and protected flames have
a 75% chance of being doused. Creatures caught in the area must
make a DC 20 Fortitude save or face the effects based on the size of
the creature (see Table 3–24). Powerful storms are divided into the
following four types.
Windstorm: While accompanied by little or no precipitation,
windstorms can cause considerable damage simply through the
force of their wind.
Blizzard: The combination of high winds, heavy snow (typically
1d3 feet), and bitter cold (see Cold Dangers, page 302) make blizzards deadly for all who are unprepared for them.
Hurricane: In addition to very high winds and heavy rain, hurricanes are accompanied by floods (see page 93). Most adventuring
activity is impossible under such conditions.
Tornado: One in ten thunderstorms is accompanied by a
tornado.

Storms

94

The combined effects of precipitation (or dust) and wind that accompany all storms reduce visibility ranges by three quarters,
imposing a –8 penalty on Spot, Search, and Listen checks. Storms
make ranged weapon attacks impossible, except for those using
siege weapons, which have a –4 penalty on attack rolls. They auto-

Fog
Whether in the form of a low-lying cloud or a mist rising from the
ground, fog obscures all sight, including darkvision, beyond 5
feet. Creatures 5 feet away have concealment (attacks by or against
them have a 20% miss chance).

Table 3–24: Wind Effects
Wind
Force
Light
Moderate
Strong

Wind
Speed
0–10 mph
11–20 mph
21–30 mph

Ranged Attacks
Normal/Siege Weapons1
—/—
—/—
–2/—

The wind can create a stinging spray of sand or dust, fan a large
fire, heel over a small boat, and blow gases or vapors away. If powerful enough, it can even knock characters down (see Table 3–24:
Wind Effects), interfere with ranged attacks, or impose penalties
on some skill checks.
Light Wind: A gentle breeze, having little or no game effect.
Moderate Wind: A steady wind with a 50% chance of extinguishing small, unprotected flames, such as candles.
Strong Wind: Gusts that automatically extinguish unprotected
flames (candles, torches, and the like). Such gusts impose a –2
penalty on ranged attack rolls and on Listen checks.
Severe Wind: In addition to automatically extinguishing any
unprotected flames, winds of this magnitude cause protected
flames (such as those of lanterns) to dance wildly and have a 50%
chance of extinguishing these lights. Ranged weapon attacks and
Listen checks are at a –4 penalty. This is the velocity of wind produced by a gust of wind spell.
Windstorm: Powerful enough to bring down branches if not
whole trees, windstorms automatically extinguish unprotected
flames and have a 75% chance of blowing out protected flames,
such as those of lanterns. Ranged weapon attacks are impossible,
and even siege weapons have a –4 penalty on attack rolls. Listen
checks are at a –8 penalty due to the howling of the wind.
Hurricane-Force Wind: All flames are extinguished. Ranged attacks are impossible (except with siege weapons, which have a –8
penalty on attack rolls). Listen checks are impossible: All characters can hear is the roaring of the wind. Hurricane-force winds
often fell trees.
Tornado (CR 10): All flames are extinguished. All ranged attacks
are impossible (even with siege weapons), as are Listen checks.
Instead of being blown away (see Table 3–24: Wind Effects), characters in close proximity to a tornado who fail their Fortitude
saves are sucked toward the tornado. Those who come in contact
with the actual funnel cloud are picked up and whirled around for
1d10 rounds, taking 6d6 points of damage per round, before being
violently expelled (falling damage may apply). While a tornado’s

ADVENTURES

Winds

CHAPTER 3:

Wind Effect
Fort Save
Creature Size2
on Creatures
DC
Any
None
—
Any
None
—
Tiny or smaller
Knocked down
10
Small or larger
None
Severe
31–50 mph
–4/—
Tiny
Blown away
15
Small
Knocked down
Medium
Checked
Large or larger
None
Windstorm
51–74 mph
Impossible/–4
Small or smaller
Blown away
18
Medium
Knocked down
Large or Huge
Checked
Gargantuan or Colossal
None
Hurricane
75–174 mph
Impossible/–8
Medium or smaller
Blown away
20
Large
Knocked down
Huge
Checked
Gargantuan or Colossal
None
Tornado
175–300 mph
Impossible/impossible
Large or smaller
Blown away
30
Huge
Knocked down
Gargantuan or Colossal
Checked
1 The siege weapon category includes ballista and catapult attacks as well as boulders tossed by giants.
2 Flying or airborne creatures are treated as one size category smaller than their actual size, so an airborne Gargantuan dragon is treated as Huge
for purposes of wind effects.
Checked: Creatures are unable to move forward against the force of the wind. Flying creatures are blown back 1d6×5 feet.
Knocked Down: Creatures are knocked prone by the force of the wind. Flying creatures are instead blown back 1d6×10 feet.
Blown Away: Creatures on the ground are knocked prone and rolled 1d4×10 feet, taking 1d4 points of nonlethal damage per 10 feet. Flying
creatures are blown back 2d6×10 feet and take 2d6 points of nonlethal damage due to battering and buffeting.

rotational speed can be as great as 300 mph, the funnel itself
moves forward at an average of 30 mph (roughly 250 feet per
round). A tornado uproots trees, destroys buildings, and causes
other similar forms of major destruction.

RANDOM WILDERNESS ENCOUNTERS
When setting out to generate random encounters for an adventure that involves travel through the wilderness, the first thing
you need to do is determine the chance for an encounter to
happen in a given area. Refer to the table below, determining the
type of area in question and then rolling d% at the end of every
hour the PCs spend in the area to see if an encounter occurs.

Chance of Wilderness Encounter
Type of Area
Desolate/wasteland
Frontier/wilderness
Verdant/civilized area
Heavily traveled

d% Chance
5% chance per hour
8% chance per hour
10% chance per hour
12% chance per hour

Building a Wilderness Encounter Table
In this section are all the tools you need to build encounter tables
suited to various regions of your campaign world. These tools include Table 3–25: Wilderness Encounter Lists, in which creatures
from the Monster Manual are grouped according to the environment where they can typically be encountered. The lists include
all creatures from the Monster Manual except for those that are
found only underground (see the earlier section of this chapter,
where dungeon encounter tables are provided), those that are
native to a plane of existence other than the Material Plane (see
Adventuring on Other Planes, beginning on page 147), and some
creatures with low CRs that are usually not appropriate for
encounters (such as the toad, the lizard, and the monkey).
The sample encounter tables presented in the section on terrain
features (beginning with forest terrain on page 87) were constructed using the procedure described below. Refer to those
tables when you begin building your own.

95

ADVENTURES

CHAPTER 3:

Table 3–25:
Wilderness Encounter Lists
CR
1/8
1/3
1/3
1/2
1/2
1
1
1
2
2
2
3
3
3
3
3
3
4
4
5
5
5
7
7
7
8
8
8
10
10
11
11
11
13
13
14
15
16
16
18
20

Any Wilderness Environment
Rat (animal)
Dire rat
Human warrior skeleton
Tiny animated object
Human commoner zombie
Small animated object
Ghoul
Homunculus
Medium animated object
Wererat (lycanthrope)
Rat swarm
Allip
Large animated object
Doppelganger
Ghast (ghoul)
Shadow
Wight
Gargoyle
Vampire spawn
Huge animated object
Mummy
Wraith
Gargantuan animated object
Flesh golem
Spectre
Greater shadow
Mohrg
Shield guardian
Colossal animated object
Clay golem
Devourer
Dread wraith
Stone golem
Iron golem
Lich, 11th-level human wizard
Nightwing (nightshade)
Mummy lord
Greater stone golem
Nightwalker (nightshade)
Nightcrawler (nightshade)
Tarrasque

CR
1
2
4
5
5
9

Cold Aquatic
Medium shark (animal)
Large shark (animal)
Huge shark (animal)
Scrag (troll)
Orca whale (animal)
Dire shark

CR Cold Deserts
7 Remorhaz
CR
2
4
4
5
5
7

96

Cold Forests
Wolverine (animal)
Brown bear (animal)
Dire wolverine
Werebear (lycanthrope)
Winter wolf
Dire bear

CR Cold Hills
5 Ettin skeleton
6 Ettin

6 Gauth (beholder)
6 Ogre mage
13 Beholder
CR
4
6
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13

Cold Marshes
Gray ooze (ooze)
Annis (hag)
Five-headed cryohydra
Six-headed cryohydra
Seven-headed cryohydra
Eight-headed cryohydra
Nine-headed cryohydra
Ten-headed cryohydra
Eleven-headed cryohydra
Twelve-headed cryohydra

CR
2
3
3
4
5
6
7
9
10
11
12
15
17
17
18
19
21

Cold Mountains
Wyrmling white dragon
Very young white dragon
Troll skeleton
Young white dragon
Troll
Juvenile white dragon
Young adult white dragon
Frost giant
Adult white dragon
Troll hunter
Mature adult white dragon
Old white dragon
Very old white dragon
Frost giant jarl
Ancient white dragon
Wyrm white dragon
Great wyrm white dragon

CR Cold Plains
4 Polar bear (animal)
12 Frost worm
CR
1/2
1/2
1/2
1
1
2
2
3
4
4
7
7
9
9
12

Temperate Aquatic
Aquatic elf
Merfolk
Porpoise (animal)
Nixie (sprite)
Squid (animal)
Kuo-toa
Triton
Merrow (ogre)
Sea cat
Sea hag (hag)
Cachalot whale (animal)
Water naga
Dragon turtle
Giant squid (animal)
Kraken

CR
1/6
2
2
3
4
6
6
7
8
8

Temperate Deserts
Donkey (animal)
Dire bat
Bat swarm
Wyrmling blue dragon
Very young blue dragon
Young blue dragon
Lamia
Dragonne
Juvenile blue dragon
Lammasu

11
14
16
18
19
21
23
25

Young adult blue dragon
Adult blue dragon
Mature adult blue dragon
Old blue dragon
Very old blue dragon
Ancient blue dragon
Wyrm blue dragon
Great wyrm blue dragon

CR
1/4
1/4
1/4
1/2
1/2
1/2
1/2
1/2
1
1
1
1
1
1
2
2
2
2
2
2
3
3
3
3
3
3
3
3
3
3
3
4
4
4
4
4
4
4
5
5
5

Temperate Forests
Kobold
Tiny monstrous spider (vermin)
Kobold zombie
Badger (animal)
Wood elf
Tallfellow halfling
Half-elf
Small monstrous spider (vermin)
Grig
Krenshar
Medium monstrous spider (vermin)
Pseudodragon
Wolf skeleton
Wolf (animal)
Black bear (animal)
Boar (animal)
Dire badger
Large monstrous spider (vermin)
Satyr
Owlbear skeleton
Assassin vine
Centaur
Dire wolf
Wyrmling green dragon
Dryad
Giant praying mantis (vermin)
Giant wasp (vermin)
Werewolf (lycanthrope)
Giant owl
Pegasus
Unicorn
Aranea
Dire boar
Very young green dragon
Giant stag beetle (vermin)
Wereboar (lycanthrope)
Owlbear
Pixie (sprite)
Young green dragon
Huge monstrous spider (vermin)
Pixie with Otto’s irresistible dance
(sprite)
Spider eater
Tendriculos
Nymph
Juvenile green dragon
Gargantuan monstrous spider (vermin)
Treant
Celestial charger (unicorn)
Young adult green dragon
Colossal monstrous spider (vermin)
Adult green dragon
Werewolf lord (lycanthrope)
Vampire, elite
Mature adult green dragon
Old green dragon

5
6
7
8
8
8
11
11
11
13
14
15
16
18

CR
1/2
1/2
1/2
2
2
3
3
3
4
4
5
7
7
7
7
7
8
8
8
11
12
12
15
17
19
20
22
23
25

Temperate Hills
Gnome
Forest gnome
Orc
Dire weasel
Hippogriff
Wyrmling bronze dragon
Ogre
Ogre zombie
Displacer beast
Griffon
Very young bronze dragon
Bulette
Chimera
Young bronze dragon
Hill giant
Ogre barbarian
Athach
Juvenile bronze dragon
Dark naga
Hill giant dire wereboar (lycanthrope)
Displacer beast pack lord
Young adult bronze dragon
Adult bronze dragon
Mature adult bronze dragon
Old bronze dragon
Very old bronze dragon
Ancient bronze dragon
Wyrm bronze dragon
Great wyrm bronze dragon

CR
1/3
1/2
1
1
2
3
4
4
5
5
5
6
6
6
6
7
7
7
8
8
9
9
10
11
11

Temperate Marshes
Tiny viper snake (animal)
Small viper snake (animal)
Lizardfolk
Medium viper snake (animal)
Large viper snake (animal)
Huge viper snake (animal)
Harpy
Five-headed hydra
Green hag (hag)
Six-headed hydra
Ochre jelly (ooze)
Seven-headed hydra
Shambling mound
Will-o’-wisp
Gray render zombie
Chuul
Eight-headed hydra
Medusa
Gray render
Nine-headed hydra
Ten-headed hydra
Spirit naga
Eleven-headed hydra
Harpy archer
Twelve-headed hydra

CR
1/2
1/2
1/2

Temperate Mountains
Dwarf
Eagle
Gray elf

2
2
3
4
5
7
7
8
9
10
11
13
15
18
20
21
23
24
26

Bugbear
Bugbear zombie
Giant eagle
Wyrmling silver dragon
Very young silver dragon
Young silver dragon
Cloud giant skeleton
Stone giant
Yrthak
Juvenile silver dragon
Cloud giant
Young adult silver dragon
Adult silver dragon
Mature adult silver dragon
Old silver dragon
Very old silver dragon
Ancient silver dragon
Wyrm silver dragon
Great wyrm silver dragon

CR
1/4
1/4
1/3
1/3
1/2
1
1
1
1
1
1
1
2
2
2
2
2
2
3
3
6
7
7
7
8
9
10
11

Temperate Plains
Pony (animal)
Pony, war (animal)
Dog (animal)
Goblin
Giant bee (vermin)
Aasimar (planetouched)
Dog, riding (animal)
Giant ant, worker (vermin)
Horse, heavy (animal)
Horse, light (animal)
Horse, light war (animal)
Tiefling (planetouched)
Bison (animal)
Blink dog
Giant ant, queen (vermin)
Giant ant, soldier (vermin)
Horse, heavy war (animal)
Worg
Cockatrice
Locust swarm
Half-dragon 4th-level human fighter
Ghost, 5th-level human fighter
Triceratops (dinosaur)
Vampire, 5th-level human fighter
Gorgon
Half-fiend, 7th-level human cleric
Guardian naga
Half-celestial, 9th-level human paladin

CR
1/2
1
1
2
6
7
8

Warm Aquatic
Locathah
Manta ray (animal)
Octopus (animal)
Sahuagin
Baleen whale (animal)
Elasmosaurus (dinosaur)
Giant octopus (animal)

CR
1/4
1/2
1
1
1
2
3

Warm Deserts
Tiny monstrous scorpion (vermin)
Small monstrous scorpion (vermin)
Camel (animal)
Hyena (animal)
Medium monstrous scorpion (vermin)
Large monstrous scorpion (vermin)
Wyrmling brass dragon

4
4
5
5
6
7
7
8
8
9
10
10
12
12
15
17
19
20
21
23

Very young brass dragon
Janni (genie)
Basilisk
Hieracosphinx
Young brass dragon
Criosphinx
Huge monstrous scorpion (vermin)
Juvenile brass dragon
Gynosphinx
Androsphinx
Young adult brass dragon
Gargantuan monstrous scorpion
(vermin)
Adult brass dragon
Colossal monstrous scorpion (vermin)
Mature adult brass dragon
Old brass dragon
Very old brass dragon
Ancient brass dragon
Wyrm brass dragon
Great wyrm brass dragon

CR
1/2
1
2
2
2
2
2
3
3
3
3
4
5
5
5
5
6
6
6
7
8
10

Warm Forests
Wild elf
Spider swarm
Ape (animal)
Giant bombardier beetle (vermin)
Leopard (animal)
Monitor lizard (animal)
Constrictor snake (animal)
Deinonychus (dinosaur)
Dire ape
Ettercap
Yuan-ti pureblood
Tiger (animal)
Girallon
Weretiger (lycanthrope)
Giant constrictor snake (animal)
Yuan-ti halfblood
Digester
Megaraptor (dinosaur)
Advanced megaraptor skeleton
Yuan-ti abomination
Dire tiger
Couatl

CR
1/2
1/2
3
4
5
5
5
6
7
8
9
11
14
16
19
20
22
23
25

Warm Hills
Deep halfling
Hobgoblin
Wyrmling copper dragon
Wyvern zombie
Very young copper dragon
Phase spider
Rast
Wyvern
Young copper dragon
Behir
Juvenile copper dragon
Young adult copper dragon
Adult copper dragon
Mature adult copper dragon
Old copper dragon
Very old copper dragon
Ancient copper dragon
Wyrm copper dragon
Great wyrm copper dragon

ADVENTURES

Very old green dragon
Ancient green dragon
Wyrm green dragon
Great wyrm green dragon

CHAPTER 3:

19
21
22
24

97

ADVENTURES

CHAPTER 3:

98

CR
1/2
2
2
3
4
4
5
5
6
7
7
8
9
9
10
10
11
11
12
13
14
16
18
19

Warm Marshes
Stirge
Crocodile (animal)
Shocker lizard
Wyrmling black dragon
Giant crocodile (animal)
Very young black dragon
Young black dragon
Manticore
Five-headed pyrohydra
Juvenile black dragon
Six-headed pyrohydra
Seven-headed pyrohydra
Young adult black dragon
Eight-headed pyrohydra
Nine-headed pyrohydra
Rakshasa
Adult black dragon
Ten-headed pyrohydra
Eleven-headed pyrohydra
Twelve-headed pyrohydra
Mature adult black dragon
Old black dragon
Very old black dragon
Ancient black dragon

20 Wyrm black dragon
22 Great wyrm black dragon
CR
4
5
7
8
9
10
10
13
13
15
18
20
21
23
24
26

Warm Mountains
Wyrmling red dragon
Very young red dragon
Young red dragon
Young adult red dragon skeleton
Roc
Juvenile red dragon
Fire giant
Young adult red dragon
Storm giant
Adult red dragon
Mature adult red dragon
Old red dragon
Very old red dragon
Ancient red dragon
Wyrm red dragon
Great wyrm red dragon

CR
1/3
1/2
1/2

Warm Plains
Giant fire beetle (vermin)
Baboon (animal)
Halfling

To create a wilderness encounter table, first decide what you
want the average Encounter Level to be. Then look at the relevant
list, choosing monsters with Challenge Ratings that fall in a range
from (EL – 6) to (EL + 2). Supplement these choices with selections from other sources, such as these:
• The Any Wilderness Environment list, which includes wideranging creatures.
• The lists for other climates (adding a few warm forest creatures
to your temperate forest, for example).
• Some NPCs relevant to the area (dwarf barbarians in the mountains, perhaps, or elven druids in the forest).
Now build your encounter table line by line. Strive for some EL
variety on the table. Just as you wouldn’t design a dungeon where
every single room is exactly EL 7, you shouldn’t create a wilderness table where every entry is EL 7.
If a monster’s Challenge Rating is higher than your target EL,
the same number, or 1 lower than your target EL, it can go onto
the table as a solitary monster. If your target EL is 8, you can build
an entry that simply reads “Treant,” because treants are CR 8.
For monsters that have a CR significantly lower than your target
EL, you’ll want the encounter to feature more than one of those creatures. Table 3–1 (page 49) tells you how many monsters you need for
an encounter of a given EL. Convert that number to an appropriate
die range for the encounter table. For example, if you know you want
an encounter with five gargoyles (individually CR 4) to make an EL
8 encounter, you’ll add a “2d4 gargoyles” entry to the encounter table,
because rolling 2d4 yields an average result of 5.
The organization entries for the creatures in the Monster Manual
can be a big help. They tell you how likely a monster is to congregate
with others of its kind; allips are almost always solitary, for example,
so you don’t want a “2d6 allips” entry on the encounter table. The
organization entries also indicate combinations of monsters that
make an effective encounter. Ettins often keep brown bears as pets,
so an entry of “Ettin and 1d2 brown bears” would be appropriate.
Once you have every entry for your encounter table ready, you
need only assign percentages to the table. You can rigorously adjust
the percentages to ensure that the encounter table yields an average
EL exactly equal to your target EL, but frankly it isn’t necessary.
Simply assign larger chances to the lines you know generate encounters close to your target EL, and assign smaller chances to the
lines that have EL significantly higher or lower than your target.

1
1
2
3
3
4
5
5
7
7
8
9
11
14
16
19
21
22
24
25
27
25
27

Gnoll
Mule (animal)
Cheetah (animal)
Ankheg
Lion (animal)
Rhinoceros (animal)
Dire lion
Wyrmling gold dragon
Very young gold dragon
Elephant (animal)
Tyrannosaurus (dinosaur)
Young gold dragon
Juvenile gold dragon
Young adult gold dragon
Adult gold dragon
Mature adult gold dragon
Old gold dragon
Very old gold dragon
Ancient gold dragon
Wyrm gold dragon
Great wyrm gold dragon
Wyrm gold dragon
Great wyrm gold dragon

URBAN ADVENTURES

Cities are often the places where characters spend time between
adventures. But urban areas are themselves rich in many of the
elements that make for an exciting adventure: chases through
winding streets, duels in the courtyard, and intrigue during the
king’s banquet. The “cobblestone jungle” of a metropolis can be as
dangerous as any dungeon.
At first glance, a city is much like a dungeon, made up of walls,
doors, rooms, and corridors. Adventures that take place in cities
have two salient differences from their dungeon counterparts,
however. Characters have greater access to resources, and they
must contend with law enforcement.
Access to Resources: A friendly temple of healers might be
just down the street, and a locate object scroll can be had on a quick
shopping trip. Unlike in dungeons and the wilderness, characters
can buy and sell gear quickly in a city. A large city or metropolis
probably has high-level NPCs and experts in obscure fields of
knowledge who can provide assistance and decipher clues. And
when the PCs are battered and bruised, they can retreat to the
comfort of a room at the inn.
The freedom to retreat and ready access to the marketplace
means that the players have a greater degree of control over the
pacing of an urban adventure. They can obtain healing and replenish their resources after every encounter, if they wish. For this
reason, you have the freedom to use higher-level encounters
against them than you would in a different setting. In a city, you
can provide challenges one or two Encounter Levels higher than
the PCs would face in a dungeon. And conveniently, cities are full
of high-level NPCs that provide those greater challenges.
Law Enforcement: The other key distinctions between adventuring in a city and delving into a dungeon is that a dungeon is,
almost by definition, a lawless place where the only law is that of
the jungle: Kill or be killed. A city, on the other hand, is held together by a code of laws, many of which are explicitly designed to
prevent the sort of behavior that adventurers engage in all the
time: killing and looting.
Even so, most cities’ laws recognize monsters as a threat to the
stability the city relies on, and prohibitions about murder rarely
apply to monsters such as aberrations or evil outsiders. Most evil
humanoids, however, are typically protected by the same laws

Some cities demand that characters who enter the city bind their
weapons into their sheaths with knotted cord to prevent easy access.
Other cities may forbid enchantments or divinations such as detect
thoughts in the bazaar. Different cities have different laws about such
issues as carrying weapons in public and restricting spellcasters.
When you plan an urban adventure, decide what the relevant laws are.
The most important consideration is to enhance the game with
such laws, not interfere with the players’ fun. While it might be
quite logical for a city to confiscate weapons and material components, such restrictions can really put a damper on player enjoyment of an urban adventure. If you want to increase the challenge
of urban life by forcing characters to make do without weapons or
spells, that’s fine—but be sure that the challenges they face are
appropriate to their hindered state. Unless you’ve accounted for
the restrictions in your adventure, it’s best if the characters have
relatively free access to all their capabilities.
The city’s laws may not affect all characters equally. A monk isn’t
hampered at all by a law about peace-bonding weapons, but a
cleric is reduced to a fraction of his power if all holy symbols are
confiscated at the city’s gates.
At the same time, it’s a good idea to let characters who are
resourceful or clever enough get around such restrictions—such
as the wizard with the Eschew Materials feat who doesn’t need
material components or the bard with a rapier concealed in the
neck of his lute.

URBAN FEATURES
Walls, doors, poor lighting, and uneven footing: In many ways a city
is much like a dungeon. Many of the dungeon terrain elements
described earlier in this chapter work equally well in the city. Some
new considerations for an urban setting are covered below.

Walls and Gates
Many cities are surrounded by walls. A typical small city wall is a
fortified stone wall 5 feet thick and 20 feet high. Such a wall is
fairly smooth, requiring a DC 30 Climb check to scale. The walls
are crenellated on one side to provide a low wall for the guards
atop it, and there is just barely room for guards to walk along the
top of the wall.
A typical small city wall has AC 3, hardness 8, and 450 hp per
10-foot section.
A typical large city wall is 10 feet thick and 30 feet high, with
crenellations on both sides for the guards on top of the wall. It is
likewise smooth, requiring a DC 30 Climb check to scale.
Such a wall has AC 3, hardness 8, and 720 hp per 10-foot section.
A typical metropolis wall is 15 feet thick and 40 feet tall. It has

ADVENTURES

WEAPON AND SPELL RESTRICTIONS

crenellations on both sides and often has a tunnel and small
rooms running through its interior.
Metropolis walls have AC 3, hardness 8, and 1,170 hp per 10foot section.
Unlike smaller cities, metropolises often have interior walls as well
as surrounding walls—either old walls that the city has outgrown, or
walls dividing individual districts from each other. Sometimes these
walls are as large and thick as the outer walls, but more often they
have the characteristics of a large city’s or small city’s walls.
Watch Towers: Some city walls are adorned with watch towers
set at irregular intervals. Few cities have enough guards to keep
someone constantly stationed at every tower, unless the city is
expecting attack from outside. The towers provide a superior view
of the surrounding countryside as well as a point of defense
against invaders.
Watch towers are typically 10 feet higher than the wall they
adjoin, and their diameter is 5 times the thickness of the wall.
Arrow slits line the outer sides of the upper stories of a tower, and
the top is crenellated like the surrounding walls are. In a small
tower (25 feet in diameter adjoining a 5-foot-thick wall), a simple
ladder typically connect the tower’s stories and the roof. In a larger
tower, stairs serve that purpose.
Heavy wooden doors, reinforced with iron and bearing good
locks (Open Lock DC 30), block entry to a tower, unless the tower
is in regular use.
As a rule, the captain of the guard keeps the key to the tower
secured on her person, and a second copy is in the city’s inner
fortress or barracks.
Gates: A typical city gate is a gatehouse with two portcullises
and murder holes above the space between them.
In towns and some small cities, the primary entry is through
iron double doors set into the city wall.
Gates are usually open during the day and locked or barred at
night. Usually, one gate lets in travelers after sunset and is staffed
by guards who will open it for someone who seems honest, presents proper papers, or offers a large enough bribe (depending on
the city and the guards).

CHAPTER 3:

that protect all the citizens of the city. Having an evil alignment is
not a crime (except in some severely theocratic cities, perhaps,
with the magical power to back up the law); only evil deeds are
against the law. Even when adventurers encounter an evildoer in
the act of perpetrating some heinous evil upon the populace of
the city, the law tends to frown on the sort of vigilante justice that
leaves the evildoer dead or otherwise unable to testify at a trial.
The important point to remember about city laws when running a city campaign is to use them to encourage creative thinking
and alternative ways of solving problems. If the players stop
having fun and long for a return to the dungeon, where they can
use their combat might to its fullest potential, it’s generally a good
idea to cut them some slack where the city laws are concerned,
and let them focus on the exciting aspects of adventure in the city.
On the other hand, if your players in a city-centered campaign
make feat, skill, and spell selections in order to optimize their
characters’ effectiveness in working within and around the law,
then they are approaching the problem creatively and deserve the
chance to try out their schemes.

Guards and Soldiers
A city typically has full-time military personnel equal to 1% of its
adult population, in addition to militia or conscript soldiers equal
to 5% of the population. The full-time soldiers are city guards responsible for maintaining order within the city, similar to the role
of modern police, and (to a lesser extent) for defending the city
from outside assault. Conscript soldiers are called up to serve in
case of an attack on the city.
A typical city guard force works on three eight-hour shifts, with
30% of the force on a day shift (8 A.M. to 4 P.M.), 35% on an evening
shift (4 P.M. to 12 A.M.), and 35% on a night shift (12 A.M. to 8 A.M.).
At any given time, 80% of the guards on duty are on the streets
patrolling, while the remaining 20% are stationed at various posts
throughout the city, where they can respond to nearby alarms. At
least one such guard post is present within each neighborhood of
a city (each neighborhood consisting of several districts).
The majority of a city guard force is made up of warriors, mostly
1st level. Officers include higher-level warriors, fighters, a fair
number of clerics, and wizards or sorcerers, as well as multiclass
fighter/spellcasters.

Siege Engines
Siege engines are large weapons, temporary structures, or pieces
of equipment traditionally used in besieging a castle or fortress.
Catapult, Heavy: A heavy catapult is a massive engine capable of
throwing rocks or heavy objects with great force. Because the catapult throws its payload in a high arc, it can hit squares out of its line
of sight. To fire a heavy catapult, the crew chief makes a special check
against DC 15 using only his base attack bonus, Intelligence modi-

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fier, range increment penalty, and the appropriate modifiers from
the lower section of Table 3–26. If the check succeeds, the catapult
stone hits the square the catapult was aimed at, dealing the indicated
damage to any object or character in the square. Characters who succeed on a DC 15 Reflex save take half damage. Once a catapult stone
hits a square, subsequent shots hit the same square unless the catapult is reaimed or the wind changes direction or speed.
If a catapult stone misses, roll 1d8 to determine where it lands.
This determines the misdirection of the throw, with 1 being back
toward the catapult and 2 through 8 counting clockwise around
the target square. (See the diagram on page 158 of the Player’s
Handbook.) Then, count 3 squares away from the target square for
every range increment of the attack.
Loading a catapult requires a series of full-round actions. It
takes a DC 15 Strength check to winch the throwing arm down;
most catapults have wheels to allow up to two crew members to
use the aid another action, assisting the main winch operator. A
DC 15 Profession (siege engineer) check latches the arm into
place, and then another DC 15 Profession (siege engineer) check
loads the catapult ammunition. It takes four full-round actions to
reaim a heavy catapult (multiple crew members can perform these
full-round actions in the same round, so it would take a crew of
four only 1 round to reaim the catapult).
A heavy catapult takes up a space 15 feet across.
Catapult, Light: This is a smaller, lighter version of the heavy
catapult. It functions as the heavy catapult, except that it takes a
DC 10 Strength check to winch the arm into place, and only two
full-round actions are required to reaim the catapult.
A light catapult takes up a space 10 feet across.
Ballista: A ballista is essentially a Huge heavy crossbow fixed in
place. Its size makes it hard for most creatures to aim it, as described under Weapon Size on page 113 of the Player’s Handbook.
Thus, a Medium creature takes a –4 penalty on attack rolls when
using a ballista, and a Small creature takes a –6 penalty. It takes a
creature smaller than Large two full-round actions to reload the
ballista after firing.
A ballista takes up a space 5 feet across.
Ram: This heavy pole is sometimes suspended from a movable
scaffold that allows the crew to swing it back and forth against
objects. As a full-round action, the character closest to the front of
the ram makes an attack roll against the AC of the construction,
applying the –4 penalty for lack of proficiency. (It’s not possible to
be proficient with this device.) In addition to the damage given on
Table 3–26, up to nine other characters holding the ram can add
their Strength modifier to the ram’s damage, if they devote an
attack action to doing so. For example, ten gnolls (each Str 15, +2
Str modifier) wielding a ram will deal 3d8+20 points of damage on
a successful hit. It takes at least one Huge or larger creature, two
Large creatures, four Medium-size creatures, or eight Small creatures to swing a ram. (Tiny or smaller creatures can’t use a ram.)
A ram is typically 30 feet long. In a battle, the creatures wield-

ing the ram stand in two adjacent columns of equal length, with
the ram between them.
Siege Tower: This device is a massive wooden tower on wheels
or rollers that can be rolled up against a wall to allow attackers to
scale the tower and thus to get to the top of the wall with cover.
The wooden walls are usually 1 foot thick.
A typical siege tower takes up a space 15 feet across. The creatures inside push it at a speed of 10 feet (and a siege tower can’t
run). The eight creatures pushing on the ground floor have total
cover, and those on higher floors get improved cover and can fire
through arrow slits.

City Streets
Typical city streets are narrow and twisting. Most streets average
15 to 20 feet wide [(1d4+1)×5 feet)], while alleys range from 10
feet wide to only 5 feet. Cobblestones in good condition allow
normal movement, but ones in poor repair and heavily rutted dirt
streets are considered light rubble, increasing the DC of Balance
and Tumble checks by 2.
Some cities have no larger thoroughfares, particularly cities
that gradually grew from small settlements to larger cities. Cities
that are planned, or perhaps have suffered a major fire that
allowed authorities to construct new roads through formerly
inhabited areas, might have a few larger streets through town.
These main roads are 25 feet wide—offering room for wagons to
pass each other—with 5-foot-wide sidewalks on either side.
Crowds: Urban streets are often full of people going about their
daily lives. In most cases, it isn’t necessary to put every 1st-level
commoner on the map when a fight breaks out on the city’s main
thoroughfare. Instead just indicate which squares on the map contain crowds. If crowds see something obviously dangerous, they’ll
move away at 30 feet per round at initiative count 0.
It takes 2 squares of movement to enter a square with crowds.
The crowds provide cover for anyone who does so, enabling a Hide
check and providing a bonus to Armor Class and on Reflex saves.
Directing Crowds: It takes a DC 15 Diplomacy check or DC 20
Intimidate check to convince a crowd to move in a particular
direction, and the crowd must be able to hear or see the character
making the attempt. It takes a full-round action to make the Diplomacy check, but only a free action to make the Intimidate check.
If two or more characters are trying to direct a crowd in different directions, they make opposed Diplomacy or Intimidate
checks to determine whom the crowd listens to. The crowd
ignores everyone if none of the characters’ check results beat the
DCs given above.

Above and beneath the Streets
Adventurers often chase shadowy figures through the cityscape,
and many PCs spend time on the run from the city watch. When a
chase leads upward or downward from the city streets, here are
some tips to keep things exciting.

Table 3–26: Siege Engines
Item
Cost
Catapult, heavy
800 gp
Catapult, light
550 gp
Ballista
500 gp
Ram
1,000 gp
Siege tower
2,000 gp
* See description for special rules.

Damage
6d6
4d6
3d8
3d6*
—

Critical
—
—
19–20
—
—

Range Increment
200 ft. (100 ft. minimum)
150 ft. (100 ft. minimum)
120 ft.
—
—

Typical Crew
4
2
1
10
20

Catapult Attack Modifiers

100

Condition
No line of sight to target square
Successive shots (crew can see where most recent misses landed)
Successive shots (crew can’t see where most recent misses landed,
but observer is providing feedback)

Modifier
–6
Cumulative +2 per previous miss (maximum +10)
Cumulative +1 per previous miss (maximum +5)

Most city buildings fall into three categories. The majority of
buildings in the city are two to five stories high, built side by side
to form long rows separated by secondary or main streets. These
row houses usually have businesses on the ground floor, with
offices or apartments above.
Inns, successful businesses, and large warehouses—as well as
millers, tanners, and other businesses that require extra space—
are generally large, free-standing buildings with up to five stories.
Finally, small residences, shops, warehouses, or storage sheds
are simple, one-story wooden buildings, especially if they’re in
poorer neighborhoods.
Most city buildings are made of a combination of stone or clay
brick (on the lower one or two stories) and timbers (for the upper
stories, interior walls, and floors). Roofs are a mixture of boards,
thatch, and slates, sealed with pitch.
A typical lower-story wall is 1 foot thick, with AC 3, hardness 8,
90 hp, and a Climb DC of 25.
Upper-story walls are 6 inches thick, with AC 3, hardness 5, 60
hp, and a Climb DC of 21.
Exterior doors on most buildings are good wooden doors (see
page 61) that are usually kept locked, except on public buildings
such as shops and taverns.

Buying Buildings
Characters might want to buy their own buildings or even construct their own castle. Use the prices in Table 3–27 below directly,
or as a guide when you extrapolate costs for more exotic structures.

City Lights
If a city has main thoroughfares, they are lined with lanterns
hanging at a height of 7 feet from building awnings. These
lanterns are spaced 60 feet apart, so their illumination is all but
continuous. Secondary streets and alleys are not lit; it is common
for citizens to hire lantern-bearers when going out after dark.
Alleys can be dark places even in daylight, thanks to the shadows of the tall buildings that surround them. A dark alley in daylight is rarely dark enough to afford true concealment, but it can
lend a +2 circumstance bonus on Hide checks.

Item
Cost
Simple house
1,000 gp
Grand house
5,000 gp
Mansion
100,000 gp
Tower
50,000 gp
Keep
150,000 gp
Castle
500,000 gp
Huge castle
1,000,000 gp
Moat with bridge
50,000 gp
Simple House: This one- to three-room house is made of wood and
has a thatched roof.
Grand House: This four- to ten-room house is made of wood and has
a thatched roof.
Mansion: This ten- to twenty-room residence has two or three stories
and is made of wood and brick. It has a slate roof.
Tower: This round or square, three-level tower is made of stone.
Keep: This fortified stone building has fifteen to twenty-five rooms.
Castle: A castle is a keep surrounded by a 15-foot stone wall with four
towers. The wall is 10 feet thick.
Huge Castle: A huge castle is a particularly large keep with numerous
associated buildings (stables, forge, granaries, and so on) and an
elaborate 20-foot-high wall that creates bailey and courtyard areas.
The wall has six towers and is 10 feet thick.
Moat with Bridge: The moat is 15 feet deep and 30 feet wide. The
bridge may be a wooden drawbridge or a permanent stone structure.

ADVENTURES

City Buildings

Table 3–27: Buildings

CHAPTER 3:

Rooftops: Getting to a roof usually requires climbing a wall (see
the Walls section, page 59), unless the character can reach a roof by
jumping down from a higher window, balcony, or bridge. Flat roofs,
common only in warm climates (accumulated snow can cause a flat
roof to collapse), are easy to run across. Moving along the peak of a
roof requires a DC 20 Balance check. Moving on an angled roof surface without changing altitude (moving parallel to the peak, in
other words) requires a DC 15 Balance check. Moving up and down
across the peak of a roof requires a DC 10 Balance check.
Eventually a character runs out of roof, requiring a long jump
across to the next roof or down to the ground. The distance to the
next closest roof is usually 1d3×5 feet horizontally, but the roof
across the gap is equally likely to be 5 feet higher, 5 feet lower, or the
same height. Use the guidelines on page 77 of the Player’s Handbook
(a horizontal jump’s peak height is one-fourth of the horizontal distance) to determine whether a character can make a jump.
Sewers: In the baseline D&D game world, sewers are much
more prevalent than they were in real-world medieval times. To
get into the sewers, most characters open a grate (a full-round
action) and jump down 10 feet. Sewers are built exactly like dungeons, except that they’re much more likely to have floors that are
slippery or covered with water (treat as a shallow pool, described
on page 64). Sewers are also similar to dungeons in terms of creatures liable to be encountered therein (see the dungeon encounter
tables earlier in this chapter). Some cities were built atop the ruins
of older civilizations, so their sewers sometimes lead to treasures
and dangers from a bygone age.

URBAN ENCOUNTERS
The random encounter table, a staple of dungeon and wilderness
adventuring, functions differently in an urban setting where “encounters” are the norm rather than the exception. Seeing people
on the streets of a city is constant and expected, and almost every
site in a city has dozens of potential encounters nearby. In the
wilderness, it’s unusual to encounter another creature, such as a
manticore flying overhead or an ankheg erupting from the earth
to attack. In contrast, it would be strange to not see other people
around in an urban setting.
Because cities are by their nature crowded, most urban encounter tables are event-based, not site-based. An encounter in the
city means something significant, something worthy of the characters’ attention. Seeing merchants hawking their wares in a marketplace district may be interesting, but it is not an encounter.
Each day that characters spend in a city, make an encounter
check to determine whether an event occurs that demands their
attention. An encounter check is a d20 roll, modified by circumstances as shown on the table below. (Apply one modifier from
each section of the table, as applicable.) A result of 20 or higher
indicates that an encounter occurs.
If an encounter is indicated, roll on Table 3–28. On this roll,
apply the same modifier used to determine if an encounter occurs
(a result greater than 20 is possible). Descriptions and definitions
of the entries on Table 3–28 follow.
Admirer: A friendly character (usually an NPC with class levels)
with a CR equal to 2 less than the party level approaches the characters with a request. She may wish to hire the characters, tell them a
rumor she heard, or simply tag along as they explore the city.
Animal: The characters are set upon by animals in some way.
This challenge could be anything from thieving monkeys to a
rampaging escaped circus bear.
Brawl in Progress: This can be the classic barroom brawl
(either in an actual barroom or spilled out onto the street), a battle
between rival factions, families, or gangs in the city (think Romeo
and Juliet), or a fight between city guards and criminals trying to
escape. The characters could just be witnesses, they could get hit
by stray arrow fire, they could be grabbed and used as cover or hostages by one side, or they could be mistaken for members of one
group and attacked by the other.

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Urban Encounter Check Modifiers
Circumstance
Modifier
City Size
Small city
+1
Large city
+2
Metropolis
+3
Characters’ Status/Activity
Characters are unusually anonymous1
–2
Characters are unusually famous2
+2
Characters are laying low
–2
Characters are looking for action
+2
Characters’ Party Level
1–5
+0
6–10
+1
11–15
+2
16 or higher
+3
1 Use this modifier if the characters are not as famous in this city as
other characters of their level would be. Perhaps they’re new to the
area, or they simply keep their activities quiet. Never apply this
modifier to characters of lower than 6th level.
2 Use this modifier if the characters are more widely known in this city
than other characters of their level would be. Perhaps they have
been publicly recognized for saving the mayor, or their faces are on
wanted posters all over town.

Table 3–28: Urban Encounters
d20
0
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13

102

Encounter
Bullies
Muggers
Guard harassment
Pickpockets
Spectacle
Found item
Lost child
Corpse
Animal
Overturned/runaway cart
District-specific encounter
District-specific encounter
Contest in progress
Duel/mageduel in
progress

d20 Encounter
14 Brawl/street fight/gang
war in progress
15 Robbery in progress
16 Escaped prisoner
17 Monster
18 Fire (building, ship, etc.)
19 Construction accident
20 Spell gone awry
21 Prominent personage
22 Mistaken identity
23 Guards need help
24 Employment offer
25+ Admirer

Bullies: These may be ordinary street thugs, but such characters never target those who look tougher than they. Bullies could
also be seasoned adventurers who look down on low-level characters. A group of bullies always outnumbers the characters by at
least two (+50% is a good rule of thumb), and each bully has a CR
equal to 1 less than the party level. For example, a group of four
player characters averaging 6th level would be targeted by a group
of six bullies, each with a CR of 5 (5th-level adventurers or 6thlevel warriors), for an EL 10 encounter. A single 7th-level character might find himself the target of three bullies of CR 6 (6th-level
adventurers or 7th-level warriors), which is an EL 9 encounter. To
be meaningful, bullies have to be tough; run-of-the-mill thugs are
described in the Muggers entry below.
Construction Accident: One or more of the characters are potentially struck by a falling object, fall through unsafe scaffolding,
or face a similar mishap. Run this encounter by adapting a trap
from the list that begins on page 70.
Contest in Progress: The characters are invited to participate
in or judge a contest of some sort. The match could be anything
from a foot race to an intellectual test to a drinking competition.
Corpse: The characters find a dead body. The corpse could be
the victim of a crime, mishap, or strange circumstance.
District-Specific Encounter: Use an encounter that fits the
district of the city in which the characters are currently located.

For example, a PC might be confronted with a press gang in the
waterfront district or a young foreigner eager to test his diplomatic immunity in the embassy district.
Duel in Progress: The characters witness a duel—either a traditional duel with swords or one involving spellcasters.
Employment Offer: The characters meet someone who offers
them work. The job depends on their overall circumstances and
on the nature of the employer.
Escaped Prisoner: Someone breaks free from the custody of
the watch and flees past the PCs. They can help apprehend the
prisoner or help her escape. The prisoner typically has a CR 1d6
lower than the characters’ party level.
Fire (building, ship, etc.): Fire is a danger that threatens the
whole city. Treat a fire in the city as a forest fire for purposes of
how fast it moves (see page 87).
Found Item: The characters find an item of some value: jewelry
or a map, for example. They can make use of it, or try to find the
rightful owner. Or perhaps the rightful owner will try to find them.
Guard Harassment: The PCs encounter a guard officer who
wants to throw his weight around. The characters can use their
social skills to defuse the situation, or they can resort to magic or
force of arms if the situation degenerates. Guards typically have
individual CRs of 1 to 3. Dealing with an abusive guard captain
should be treated as an encounter with at least some of the guards
in the gatehouse, because they’re backing the captain up. The characters successfully overcome this encounter if they end the harassment, no matter how they do so.
Guards Need Help: The characters get a request from someone
affiliated with law enforcement in the city. The request could be as
simple as a request for some healing or divination magic, or it
could be as complex as a plea to solve a series of grisly murders
that have the city’s detectives baffled.
Lost Child: A parent or other caregiver seeks help from the
PCs. The child might be simply lost, or perhaps is the victim of a
more sinister fate.
Mistaken Identity: One or more of the PCs are mistaken for
someone else—often someone famous or infamous.
Monster: A creature (one appropriate to the terrain surrounding the city) rampages through the city, and its path crosses that of
the characters.
Muggers: Some thugs have bitten off more than they can chew
when they decide to pick on the characters. There’s roughly one
mugger for every PC, and each has a CR of 4 to 6 less than the
party level.
Runaway Cart: A team of horses pulling a wagon is racing pellmell through the city streets. The characters must avoid the horses
(an overrun attack). If they can stop the wagon, the owner (who is
running behind the cart) will be grateful.
Pickpockets: One or more rogues tries to steal from the PCs. A
pickpocket has rogue levels equal to 2 less than the party level and
a Sleight of Hand modifier equal to 4 more than the party level.
Prominent Personage: The characters meet an important
political, religious, mercantile, or military NPC. Most important
NPCs have a retinue or guard of some sort.
Robbery in Progress: Criminals burst out of a nearby shop,
eager to cause as much mayhem as possible during their escape.
Each of the 1d4+1 robbers has a CR equal to 3 less than the party
level. The loot from the robbery is double standard for the CR of
the robbers.
Spectacle: The characters witness some unusual form of public
entertainment—a talented bard, a street circus, or flashy magic,
for example.
Spell Gone Awry: A spellcaster has foolishly experimented
with a spell or had a mishap with a scroll. The PCs might have to
contend with a rampaging summoned creature, the aftermath of a
fireball in the marketplace, or a squad of the city guard under a confusion effect.

Illus. by A. Swekel

s you run your campaign, you need to portray all sorts of
characters. Use the information in this chapter for creating and controlling the NPCs that populate your campaign world.

EVERYONE IN THE WORLD

It’s your job to portray everyone in the world who isn’t a player
character. NPCs run the gamut from the old woman who operates
the livery to the foul necromancer out to destroy the kingdom to
the dragon in its lair, counting gold. The vast majority of folk
don’t care about the PCs unless the PCs have reached the point
where they are saving the world. Even then, most people probably don’t know about them.
Most people and creatures go about their own lives, oblivious
to the actions of the PCs and the events in the PCs’ adventures.
Common people whom they meet in a town won’t see them as different from anyone else unless the PCs do something to draw
attention to themselves. In short, the rest of the world doesn’t
know that the PCs are, in fact, player characters. It treats them no
differently from anyone else, gives them no special breaks (or special penalties), and gives them no special attention. The PCs have
to rely on their own actions. If they are foolish or unruly, they
make enemies and earn the distrust of all. If they are wise and
kind, they make friends and garner respect—and probably also
run afoul of enemies that don’t share the PCs’ virtues.

ENEMIES
Running the foes of the PCs is one of your main tasks, and one of
the most fun. When creating enemies for the PCs, keep the following points in mind.

Fully Rounded Characters: Flesh out enemies. Give
thought to why NPCs are doing what they do, why they are
where they are, and how they interact with all that’s around
them. If you don’t think of them as just bad guys for the
PCs to kill, the players won’t either.
Intelligence: Play enemies as smart as they are—no
more, no less. Ogres might not be the best strategists, but
mind flayers are incredibly intelligent and always have
schemes and contingency plans.
Don’t Be Afraid to Make Them Evil: Evil is evil. Don’t
hesitate to make the villains truly vile. Betrayal, devious lies,
and hideous acts all make enemies more rewarding to
defeat.
Evil Is Not Everywhere: An NPC opponent doesn’t
have to be evil. Sometimes neutral and even good characters might oppose what the PCs are doing, since not
all good people agree on everything. Sometimes it’s
interesting to face an opponent whom you don’t want
to kill outright.
Evil Doesn’t Always Cooperate: Even if all the
PCs’ foes are evil, that doesn’t mean they all work
together. In fact, evil rarely gets along with evil (particularly in the case of chaotic evil creatures), because
the goals of one selfish, destructive creature by definition conflict with the goals of other selfish,
destructive creatures.
The Prisoner Dilemma: What should the PCs do
with enemy prisoners? If an NPC foe surrenders, the
characters face a quandary. Do they spare the lives of
their evil foes, or put them to the sword? What’s the
greater wrong, killing something evil or letting it

103

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CHARACTERS

CHAPTER 4:

live to commit more evil acts? In some campaigns or some locales
in a campaign world, bounties are paid for living prisoners. The
prisoners’ friends can also offer ransoms to get them back alive.
These two facts can help PCs decide what to do with prisoners, as
can some indication from you through other allied NPCs as to
what the accepted course of action is for the land the characters
are adventuring in. Although you should play the NPCs as appropriately as you can, don’t make the PCs face a prisoner dilemma
unless you are sure you want to.

Villains
A diabolical sorcerer, an evil high priest, a master assassin, a lich,
an ancient red dragon—the possibilities for intelligent villains are
endless, and they make for some of the PCs’ most memorable and
most hated foes. A well-played villain can become a recurring
character who is a constant thorn in the side of the PCs.
Here are some pointers for well-played villains.
Use Lackeys: Don’t have a major villain confront the PCs herself unless necessary. Eventually, the PCs will want to take the
fight to her, but she should use underlings, cohorts, and summoned creatures to challenge the characters whenever possible.
Nevertheless, don’t deny the PCs the satisfaction of ultimately
having the opportunity to defeat her.
Be Sneaky and Resourceful: Use all available options to foil
the PCs. A sneaky villain might use undetectable alignment or nondetection to foil attempts to find him. A detect scrying spell or—even
better—a screen spell can keep scrying from revealing his actions.
Mind blank foils detect thoughts, and spell resistance potentially foils
most everything. The basic idea to keep in mind is that for every
ability the PCs might have, an NPC villain might be able to
counter it with the right spell, item, or ability.
Have an Escape Plan: Once the PCs have confronted the villain and foiled his plans, it can be hard for him to get away without
preparing beforehand. PCs are notorious for dogging the heels of
a villain who tries to escape. Use secret passages, invisibility, dimension door, teleport, contingency, and swarms of underlings to aid the
villain’s escape.
Take Hostages: Put the PCs in a moral dilemma. Are they willing to attack the villain if her servants are prepared to slay on her
command a number of townsfolk she captured?
Use Magic: A high-level villain (even a fighter or a rogue)
should have a great deal of magic to fall back on, perhaps through
the use of spellcasting servants or magic items. The PCs have
plenty of magic to bring to bear against the villain, so she should
have a fair number of tricks and surprises for them as well.
Fight on the Villain’s Terms: A smart villain fights the PCs
only when he has to, and only when he’s prepared. Preferably, he
engages them after they have been weakened by fighting their
way through his guardian- and trap-filled lair.

Animals and Other Monsters

104

Animals, vermin, magical beasts, and other low-intelligence monsters form a special category of NPC. They don’t act the way more
intelligent creatures do. Instead, they are driven by instinct and
need. Hunger and fear, for example, motivate animals. They are
occasionally curious, but usually they are looking for food. When
setting up encounters with animals other and low-intelligence creatures, remember to develop some sort of ecology. A hundred orcs
might all organize themselves together in one area, but a hundred
displacer beasts never would unless an intelligent, outside force
were compelling them to do so. In a dungeon, for example, predators need something to eat and probably would not lair too close to
each other to avoid competition for food. The logical demands of an
ecosystem can sometimes make a dungeon difficult to rationalize or
to design so that it is at least somewhat believable. An intelligent,
organizing force often helps to explain the presence of creatures in
numbers or locations contrary to their natural inclination.

Animals and other low-intelligence monsters want to eat, want
to be safe, and want to protect their young. They are not thrilled
about competition for food, but only the most aggressive attack
for no other reason than that. They don’t collect treasure, but the
possessions of the characters they have slain can be found in their
lairs, untouched by the creatures.
These sorts of creatures make great foes for PCs, since few
moral issues are raised by slaying a dire wolf or even an umber
hulk or a wyvern. Thus, even though humans are a poor choice of
prey for most animals in the real world, assume that most predators in the campaign don’t mind or even prefer hunting and eating
intelligent creatures.

FRIENDS
Not everyone hates the PCs. If the characters are smart, as the
campaign progresses they will make as many friends as enemies.
Characters who don’t oppose the PCs are divided into four types:
allies, cohorts, followers, and hirelings. The Leadership feat (see
PCs as Leaders, page 106) enables a character to attract cohorts and
followers. Allies and hirelings have different relationships with
PCs than cohorts and hirelings do.

Allies
Markiov Thenuril is a rugged ranger who patrols the wilderness to
the west. Ever since the PCs helped him fight off the gnoll incursion two years ago, he has been willing to provide them with information about his territory whenever they need it. He has introduced them to Viran Rainsong, an elf wizard/bard who gives them
great deals on potions and scrolls that she manufactures. Viran’s
half-brother Ethin traveled with the PCs when they went to the
Forgotten Mountain and the Lichlair.
Allies come in two types: those who help the PCs with information, equipment, or a place to stay the night, and those who
actually travel with them on adventures. The former make useful
contacts and resources. The latter function as party members and
earn a full share of experience points and treasure just as any
other character does. Essentially, these latter allies are adventurers who just happen not to be controlled by players. They differ
from cohorts and hirelings (see below), who work directly for
the PCs.

Cohorts
Cohorts are loyal servants who follow a particular character or
sometimes a group of characters. (NPC adventurers can have cohorts, too.) They are hired by or seek out a PC or PCs, and they
work out a deal agreeable to both parties so that the NPC works
for the characters. A cohort serves as a general helper, a bodyguard, a sidekick, or just someone to watch a character’s back.
Although technically subservient, cohorts are usually too valuable
to waste on performing menial tasks.
There are no limitations on the class, race, or gender of a character’s cohorts, nor limits to the number of cohorts who can be
employed by a character. Mistreated cohorts become disloyal and
eventually leave or even seek revenge against their employers.
Loyal cohorts become trusted friends and long-time helpers.
So, what’s really the difference between allies who come along
and use their abilities to face dangers alongside the PCs, and
cohorts who do the same thing?
Cohorts are people who take on a subservient role. Cohorts are
not leaders. They might voice an opinion now and again, but for
the most part, they do as they’re told.
Experience Points: Cohorts earn experience points, but not at
the same rate as player characters. To determine a cohort’s XP
award, follow this procedure:
1. Don’t include a cohort as a party member when determining
the XP awards for individual characters. In a party containing four
PCs and one cohort, each PC gets 1/4 of the overall XP award.

Followers are similar to cohorts, except they’re generally low-level
NPCs. Because they’re generally five or more levels behind the
character they follow, they’re rarely effective in combat. But a
clever player can use them as scouts, spies, messengers, errandrunners, or guards.
Followers don’t earn experience and thus don’t gain levels.
However, when a character with the Leadership feat (see page
106) attains a new level, the player consults the table in the feat
description to determine if she has acquired more followers, some
of which may be higher level than the existing followers. (You
don’t consult the table to see if your cohort gains levels, however,
because cohorts earn experience on their own.)
Followers don’t demand a share of treasure, although they
depend on the PC they follow to equip them and keep them fed.

Replacing Cohorts and Followers
If a leader loses a cohort or followers, he can generally replace
them, according to his current Leadership score. It takes time (1d4
months) to recruit replacements. If the leader is to blame for the
deaths of the cohort or followers, it takes extra time to replace
them, up to a full year. Note that the leader also picks up a reputation of failure, which decreases his Leadership score.

Hirelings
When the PCs need to hire someone to perform a task—make
items, speak with sages, care for their horses, or help build a castle,
hirelings are the NPCs they employ. Characters can use hirelings
to carry torches, tote their treasure, and fight for them. Hirelings
differ from cohorts in that they have no investment in what’s
going on. They just do their jobs.
Unlike cohorts, hirelings do not make decisions. They do as
they’re told (at least in theory). Thus, even if they go on an
adventure with the PCs, they gain no experience and do not
affect any calculations involving the party level. Like cohorts,
hirelings must be treated fairly well, or they will leave and
might even turn against their former employers. Some hirelings
might require hazard pay (perhaps as high as double normal
pay) if placed in particularly dangerous situations. In addition
to demanding hazard pay, hirelings placed in great danger

CHAPTER 4:

Followers

might be unfriendly (see Influencing NPC Attitudes, page 72 of
the Player’s Handbook), but characters potentially can influence
them to a better attitude and perhaps even talk them out of
hazard pay.
Hirelings are helpful to have around, particularly for specific
tasks. If the PCs wipe out a nest of wererats but have to leave
treasure behind, they can hire porters to come back down with
them into the lair to help carry out the goods. An animal tender
or two to watch the PCs’ horses while they’re down in a dungeon
can be useful. Mercenary warriors can provide vital additional
strength to the party’s ability to combat foes.
Middle and high-level PCs should be aware that taking a 1stlevel commoner with them on an adventure so that she can carry
equipment or fight as a mercenary probably places her at great
risk. Hirelings who are expected to fight are best used to deal with
foes of their level—goblin warriors, for instance, or an evil cleric’s
skeleton army.
Table 4–1: Prices for Hireling Services gives an idea of the daily
wage that hirelings of various types will expect or demand. The
prices on the table are for long-term retention of services; hiring
someone for just a day or two might cost two or three times the
indicated price.
Also, the prices do not include materials, tools, or weapons the
hireling may need to do his or her job.

NONPLAYER
CHARACTERS

2. Divide the cohort’s level by the level of the PC with whom he
or she is associated (the character who attracted the cohort).
3. Multiply this result by the total XP awarded to the PC and add
that number of experience points to the cohort’s total.
For example, a 4th-level cohort associated with a 6th-level PC
gains 2/3 as much XP as the character gains.
If a cohort gains enough XP to bring it to a level one lower
than the associated PC’s character level, the cohort does not gain
the new level—its new XP total is 1 less than the amount needed
to attain the next level. This rule is especially significant when
the PC loses one or more levels; a cohort’s level advancement
could be stalled for quite some time until the PC regains his or
her lost levels and gains enough additional XP to be eligible for a
higher-level cohort (see the Leadership feat on the following
page).
Treasure: Although the PCs can work out other deals, their
cohorts usually get only a half share of any treasure the party
gains. Sometimes a cohort seeks no pay, only the opportunity to
serve alongside the PCs. Such cohorts require only living costs.
However, they are not common.
The easiest way to calculate a half share is to treat the cohort as
getting a full share, but award him or her only half, and then
divide out the remainder to the group. For instance, if a party of
four PCs and one cohort earns 1,000 gp, divide the gold pieces by
5 (which is 200 apiece), but award the cohort only 100, and divide
the leftover 100 among the four PCs (25 each).

Table 4–1: Prices for Hireling Services
Hireling
Per Day
Hireling
Per Day
Alchemist*
1 gp
Mason/craftsperson*
3 sp
Animal tender/groom 15 cp
Mercenary
2 sp
Architect/engineer
5 sp
Mercenary cavalry
4 sp
Barrister
1 gp
Mercenary leader
6 sp
Clerk
4 sp
Porter
1 sp
Cook
1 sp
Sage
2 or more gp
Entertainer/performer
4 sp
Scribe
3 sp
Laborer
1 sp
Smith
4 sp*
Limner
6 sp
Teamster
3 sp
Maid
1 sp
Valet/lackey
2 sp
* If paid to create a specific item, use item prices and working times
instead.

The types of hirelings characters might employ (from Table 4–1)
are described below.
Alchemist: One who works with chemicals. Also includes
apothecaries (those who deal with drugs and medicines).
Animal Tender/Groom: Someone to care for animals. Also
includes shepherds, shearers, and swineherds.
Architect/Engineer: A skilled, educated planner, essential for
large building projects. Also includes shipwrights.
Barrister: A lawyer.
Clerk: A scribe specializing in accounting. Also includes translators and interpreters.
Cook: Someone who can prepare meals, often for large groups.
Entertainer/Performer: A minstrel, actor, singer, dancer, or
poet.
Laborer: Anyone performing unskilled or relatively unskilled
labor. Includes ditchdiggers, gravediggers, bloomers (forge workers), plowers, quarriers, and many other kinds.
Limner: A painter. Includes all types of artisans.
Maid: A household servant who cleans.
Mason/Craftsperson: A mason is a stoneworker, but this category also covers carpenters, tanners (leatherworkers), haberdashers, brewers, coopers, cordwainers (shoemakers), bookbinders,
fletchers, fullers (feltmakers), bowyers, cobblers, drapers, joiners,
parchmentmakers, plasterers, chandlers (candlemakers), dyers,
skinners, soapmakers, jewelers, tinkers, vintners, weavers, gemcutters, wheelwrights, cartwrights, horners, mercers, hosiers, and
other individuals who perform a craft.

105

NONPLAYER
CHARACTERS

CHAPTER 4:

Mercenary: A 1st-level warrior (see the warrior NPC class,
page 109).
Mercenary Cavalry: A 1st-level warrior who can ride and fight
on horseback.
Mercenary Leader: A 2nd-level warrior. For a mercenary
leader of higher level than 2nd, add 3 sp per day per level more
than is shown on Table 4–1.
Porter: Someone who carries heavy loads.
Sage: A researcher, a scholar, or a wise, educated person who
provides information. You should assign a time period required to
research the answer to a question, which may be as short as an
hour or as long as a month or more (depending both on the difficulty of the question and the likelihood that the sage knows the
answer or can find it quickly). More renowned sages demand
higher fees, particularly for difficult areas of research.
Scribe: Someone who can write. Also includes scriveners
(manuscript copiers).
Smith: A metalworker. Includes blacksmiths, goldsmiths, silversmiths, coppersmiths, pewterers, minters (coinmakers), latoners (bronzeworkers), braziers (brassworkers), locksmiths, weaponsmiths, and armorers.
Teamster: Cart or wagon driver.
Valet/Lackey: A general servant required to perform many and
varied duties.

PCS AS LEADERS
When PCs gain levels, they also garner reputations. Those who
show promise, great power, a path toward success, or perhaps just
a friendly demeanor may find that NPCs want to follow them.
These NPCs may wish for apprenticeships, employment, or a
leader they can look up to.

Attracting Cohorts
A character of 6th level or higher can start attracting cohorts (see page
104) and followers (see page 105) by taking the Leadership feat (see
below). Unlike other feats, this one depends heavily on the social setting of the campaign, the actual location of the PC, and the group
dynamics. You’re free to disallow this feat if it would disrupt the campaign. Be sure to consider the effect of a PC having a cohort. A cohort
is effectively another PC in the party under that player’s control, one
whose share of XP, treasure, and spotlight time is bound to take something away from the other players’ characters. If your group is small,
cohorts may be a great idea. If it’s big enough that a cohort would be a
problem, don’t let the PCs have cohorts.
A character can try to attract a cohort of a particular race, class,
and alignment. The cohort’s alignment may not be opposed to the
leader’s alignment on either the law-vs.-chaos or good-vs.-evil axis,
and the leader takes a Leadership penalty if he recruits a cohort of
an alignment different from his own. The DM determines the
details of the cohort. The cohort has gear as an NPC (see Table
4–23: NPC Gear Value, page 127).

LEADERSHIP [GENERAL]

106

A character with this feat is the sort of individual others want to
follow, and he or she has done some work attempting to recruit
cohorts and followers.
Prerequisites: A character must be at least 6th level to take
this feat.
Benefits: Having this feat enables the character to attract loyal
companions and devoted followers, subordinates who assist her.
See the table below for what sort of cohort and how many followers the character can recruit.
Leadership Modifiers: Several factors can affect a character’s
Leadership score, causing it to vary from the base score (character
level + Cha modifier). A character’s reputation (from the point of
view of the cohort or follower he is trying to attract) raises or
lowers his Leadership score:

Leadership
Cohort
—— Number of Followers by Level ——
Score
Level
1st
2nd
3rd
4th
5th
6th
1 or lower
—
—
—
—
—
—
—
2
1st
—
—
—
—
—
—
3
2nd
—
—
—
—
—
—
4
3rd
—
—
—
—
—
—
5
3rd
—
—
—
—
—
—
6
4th
—
—
—
—
—
—
7
5th
—
—
—
—
—
—
8
5th
—
—
—
—
—
—
9
6th
—
—
—
—
—
—
10
7th
5
—
—
—
—
—
11
7th
6
—
—
—
—
—
12
8th
8
—
—
—
—
—
13
9th
10
1
—
—
—
—
14
10th
15
1
—
—
—
—
15
10th
20
2
1
—
—
—
16
11th
25
2
1
—
—
—
17
12th
30
3
1
1
—
—
18
12th
35
3
1
1
—
—
19
13th
40
4
2
1
1
—
20
14th
50
5
3
2
1
—
21
15th
60
6
3
2
1
1
22
15th
75
7
4
2
2
1
23
16th
90
9
5
3
2
1
24
17th
110
11
6
3
2
1
25 or higher
17th
135
13
7
4
2
2
Leadership Score: A character’s base Leadership score equals his level
plus any Charisma modifier. In order to take into account negative
Charisma modifiers, this table allows for very low Leadership scores,
but the character must still be 6th level or higher in order to gain the
Leadership feat. Outside factors can affect a character’s Leadership
score, as detailed below.
Cohort Level: The character can attract a cohort of up to this level.
Regardless of a character’s Leadership score, he can only recruit a
cohort who is two or more levels lower than himself. A 6th-level
paladin with a +3 Charisma bonus, for example, can still only
recruit a cohort of 4th level or lower. The cohort should be
equipped with gear appropriate for its level (see Table 4–23: NPC
Gear Value, page 127).
Number of Followers by Level: The character can lead up to the
indicated number of characters of each level. For example, a
character with a Leadership score of 14 can lead up to fifteen 1stlevel followers and one 2nd-level follower.
Leader’s Reputation
Great renown
Fairness and generosity
Special power
Failure
Aloofness
Cruelty

Modifier
+2
+1
+1
–1
–1
–2

Other modifiers may apply when the character tries to attract a
cohort:
The Leader . . .
Has a familiar, special mount, or
animal companion
Recruits a cohort of a different alignment
Caused the death of a cohort
* Cumulative per cohort killed.

Modifier
–2
–1
–2*

Followers have different priorities from cohorts. When the character tries to attract a new follower, use any of the following modifiers that apply.

The Leader . . .
Has a stronghold, base of operations,
guildhouse, or the like
Moves around a lot
Caused the death of other followers

–1
–1

NPC SPELLCASTING

ADEPT
Some tribal societies or less sophisticated regions don’t have the
resources to train wizards and clerics. Reflecting a lesser knowledge of magic yet an intriguing combination of arcane and divine
skills, the adept serves these cultures as both wise woman (or holy
man) and mystical defender.
Adepts can be found in isolated human, elf, dwarf, gnome, and
halfling communities but are most prevalent among more bestial
humanoid and giant species such as orcs, goblins, gnolls, bugbears, and ogres.
Hit Die: d6.

NPC CLASSES

The Player’s Handbook extensively describes adventurers. But what
about the rest of the world? Surely not everyone’s a fighter, rogue,
or wizard. Presented in this section are five classes specifically
designed for NPCs. None of them, with the possible exceptions of
the expert and the aristocrat, stands up as a playable class for PCs.
Instead, they represent the rest of the people in the world around
the PCs who don’t train to go on adventures and explore dungeons.
Treat these classes as you would any other. Their members get
feats every three levels and ability score increases every four levels
(see Table 3–2: Experience and Level-Dependent Benefits on page
22 of the Player’s Handbook). Most NPCs take feats such as Endurance, Skill Focus, Track, and other noncombat-related abilities.

CHAPTER 4:

Characters need healing. They need curses removed. They need to
be teleported. They need to be raised from the dead. At various
points during the campaign, the PCs will need to find NPCs to cast
spells for them, either because they don’t want to do it themselves
or, more often, because a particular spell is beyond them. Refer to
page 139 for information on the highest-level spellcaster available
in a given community.
Assuming that the PCs can find a caster of the needed level and
that she’s amenable to helping them out, the NPC charges them 10
gp per spell level × her caster level (or 5 gp × her caster level for a
0-level spell). If she’s a cleric, she might require the amount as a
donation to her faith. If she’s a wizard, she might call the price a
“magical research fee.” Whatever the case, the higher her caster
level, the more she can charge for spells.
If a spell has an expensive material component, the NPC makes
her client pay for those expenses in addition to the base cost.
If the spell requires a focus component (other than a divine
focus), the NPC makes her client pay 10% of the cost of the focus
(even if caster already possesses the item).
Finally, if the spell has an XP component, the NPC charges an
additional 5 gp for each experience point she must expend.

NONPLAYER
CHARACTERS

It’s possible for NPCs to multiclass, and even to obtain levels in PC
classes if you so desire.
The level and class of an NPC give an indication of how well
that NPC knows his or her field. A typical blacksmith might only
be a 3rd-level commoner, but the world’s greatest blacksmith is
probably a 20th-level expert. That 20th-level character is a capable
person with great skill, but she can’t fight as well as a fighter equal
to her level (or even one much lower in level), nor can she cast
spells or do the other things that characters with PC class levels
can do.
NPCs gain experience points the same way that PCs do. Not
being adventurers, however, their opportunities are more limited.
Therefore, a commoner is likely to progress in levels very slowly.
Most commoners never attain higher than 2nd or 3rd level in
their whole lives. A warrior serving as a town guard is more likely
to earn XP here and there and thus might gain a few levels, but
this experience is still paltry compared to what an adventurer
gains. Keep in mind, though, that dangerous areas are more likely
to produce higher-level NPCs than peaceful, settled lands. A commoner who must regularly fight off gnolls trying to ransack his
farm or burn his crops is likely to be of higher level than one who
rarely encounters a challenge of this sort.
These NPC classes should provide enough distinction to create
anyone the PCs meet who isn’t an adventurer. See Total Characters
of Each Class, page 138, for information on how many characters
belonging to each of these NPC classes are found in a typical town
and their respective levels.

Modifier
+2

Class Skills
The adept’s class skills (and the key ability for each skill) are Concentration (Con), Craft (Int), Handle Animal (Cha), Heal (Wis),

Table 4–2: The Adept
NPC
Level
1st
2nd
3rd
4th
5th
6th
7th
8th
9th
10th
11th
12th
13th
14th
15th
16th
17th
18th
19th
20th

Base
Attack Bonus
+0
+1
+1
+2
+2
+3
+3
+4
+4
+5
+5
+6/+1
+6/+1
+7/+2
+7/+2
+8/+3
+8/+3
+9/+4
+9/+4
+10/+5

Fort
Save
+0
+0
+1
+1
+1
+2
+2
+2
+3
+3
+3
+4
+4
+4
+5
+5
+5
+6
+6
+6

Ref
Save
+0
+0
+1
+1
+1
+2
+2
+2
+3
+3
+3
+4
+4
+4
+5
+5
+5
+6
+6
+6

Will
Save
+2
+3
+3
+4
+4
+5
+5
+6
+6
+7
+7
+8
+8
+9
+9
+10
+10
+11
+11
+12

Special
Summon familiar

——————— Spells per Day ——––———
0
1st
2nd
3rd
4th
5th
3
1
—
—
—
—
3
1
—
—
—
—
3
2
—
—
—
—
3
2
0
—
—
—
3
2
1
—
—
—
3
2
1
—
—
—
3
3
2
—
—
—
3
3
2
0
—
—
3
3
2
1
—
—
3
3
2
1
—
—
3
3
3
2
—
—
3
3
3
2
0
—
3
3
3
2
1
—
3
3
3
2
1
—
3
3
3
3
2
—
3
3
3
3
2
0
3
3
3
3
2
1
3
3
3
3
2
1
3
3
3
3
3
2
3
3
3
3
3
2

107

Knowledge (all skills taken individually) (Int), Profession (Wis),
Spellcraft (Int), and Survival (Wis). See Chapter 4: Skills in the
Player’s Handbook for skill descriptions.
Skill Points at 1st Level: (2 + Int modifier) × 4.
Skill Points at Each Additional Level: 2 + Int modifier.

NONPLAYER
CHARACTERS

CHAPTER 4:

Class Features
All of the following are class features of the adept NPC class.
Weapon and Armor Proficiency: Adepts are skilled with all
simple weapons. Adepts are not proficient with any type of armor
nor with shields.
Spells: An adept casts divine spells (the same type of spells
available to the cleric, druid, paladin, and ranger), which are
drawn from the adept spell list (see below). Like a cleric, an adept
must choose and prepare her spells in advance. Unlike a cleric, an
adept cannot spontaneously cast cure or inflict spells.
To prepare or cast a spell, an adept must have a Wisdom score
equal to at least 10 + the spell level (Wis 10 for 0-level spells, Wis
11 for 1st-level spells, and so forth). The Difficulty Class for a
saving throw against an adept’s spell is 10 + the spell level + the
adept’s Wisdom modifier.
Adepts, unlike wizards, do not acquire their spells from books
or scrolls, nor do they prepare them through study. Instead, they
meditate or pray for their spells, receiving them as divine inspiration or through their own strength of faith. Each adept must
choose a time each day at which she must spend an hour in quiet
contemplation or supplication to regain her daily allotment of
spells. Time spent resting has no effect on whether an adept can
prepare spells.
Like other spellcasters, an adept can cast only a certain number
of spells of each spell level per day. Her base daily spell allotment
is given on Table 4–2: The Adept. In addition, she receives bonus
spells per day if she has a high Wisdom score (see Table 1–1: Ability Modifiers and Bonus Spells, page 8 of the Player’s Handbook).
When Table 4–2 indicates that the adept gets 0 spells per day of a
given spell level (for instance, 0 2nd-level spells for a 4th-level
adept), she gains only the bonus spells she would be entitled to
based on her Wisdom score for that spell level.
Each adept has a particular holy symbol (as a divine focus)
depending on the adept’s magical tradition.
Summon Familiar: At 2nd level, an adept can call a familiar,
just as a sorcerer or wizard can. See the sidebar on page 52 of the
Player’s Handbook for more information.

ARISTOCRAT
Aristocrats are usually educated, wealthy individuals who were
born into high position. Aristocrats are the wealthy or politically influential people in the world. They are given the freedom to train in the fields of their choice, for the most part, and
often travel widely. With access to all the best goods and opportunities, many aristocrats become formidable individuals. Some
even go on adventures with fighters, wizards, and members of
other classes, although usually such activities are nothing more
than a lark.
The aristocrat might work as a PC class, since it has an
impressive selection of skills and respectable combat training.
Being an aristocrat, however, isn’t so much a choice as a position
you’re born into. An aristocrat cannot be a multiclass character
unless his or her first level is in the aristocrat class. Mostly, you
should reserve the aristocrat class for rulers, their families, and
their courtiers.
Hit Die: d8.

Table 4–3: The Aristocrat
NPC
Level
1st
2nd
3rd
4th
5th
6th
7th
8th
9th
10th
11th
12th
13th
14th
15th
16th
17th
18th
19th
20th

Base
Attack Bonus
+0
+1
+2
+3
+3
+4
+5
+6/+1
+6/+1
+7/+2
+8/+3
+9/+4
+9/+4
+10/+5
+11/+6/+1
+12/+7/+2
+12/+7/+2
+13/+8/+3
+14/+9/+4
+15/+10/+5

Fort
Save
+0
+0
+1
+1
+1
+2
+2
+2
+3
+3
+3
+4
+4
+4
+5
+5
+5
+6
+6
+6

Ref
Save
+0
+0
+1
+1
+1
+2
+2
+2
+3
+3
+3
+4
+4
+4
+5
+5
+5
+6
+6
+6

Will
Save
+2
+3
+3
+4
+4
+5
+5
+6
+6
+7
+7
+8
+8
+9
+9
+10
+10
+11
+11
+12

Class Skills
Starting Gear

2d4 × 10 gp worth of equipment.

Adept Spell List

108

Adepts choose their spells from the following list.
0 Level: create water, cure minor wounds, detect magic, ghost sound,
guidance, light, mending, purify food and drink, read magic, touch of
fatigue.
1st Level: bless, burning hands, cause fear, command, comprehend
languages, cure light wounds, detect chaos, detect evil, detect good, detect
law, endure elements, obscuring mist, protection from chaos, protection
from evil, protection from good, protection from law, sleep.
2nd Level: aid, animal trance, bear’s endurance, bull’s strength, cat’s
grace, cure moderate wounds, darkness, delay poison, invisibility, mirror
image, resist energy, scorching ray, see invisibility, web.
3rd Level: animate dead, bestow curse, contagion, continual flame,
cure serious wounds, daylight, deeper darkness, lightning bolt, neutralize
poison, remove curse, remove disease, tongues.
4th Level: cure critical wounds, minor creation, polymorph, restoration, stoneskin, wall of fire.
5th Level: baleful polymorph, break enchantment, commune, heal,
major creation, raise dead, true seeing, wall of stone.

The aristocrat’s class skills (and the key ability for each skill) are
Appraise (Int), Bluff (Cha), Diplomacy (Cha), Disguise (Cha),
Forgery (Int), Gather Information (Cha), Handle Animal (Cha),
Intimidate (Cha), Knowledge (all skills taken individually) (Int),
Listen (Wis), Perform (Cha), Ride (Dex), Sense Motive (Wis),
Speak Language, Spot (Wis), Swim (Str), and Survival (Wis). See
Chapter 4: Skills in the Player’s Handbook for skill descriptions.
Skill Points at 1st Level: (4 + Int modifier) × 4.
Skill Points at Each Additional Level: 4 + Int modifier.

Class Features
The following is a class feature of the aristocrat NPC class.
Weapon and Armor Proficiency: The aristocrat is proficient
in the use of all simple and martial weapons and with all types of
armor and shields.

Starting Gear

6d8 × 10 gp worth of equipment.

COMMONER
The common folk farm the fields, staff the shops, build the homes,
and produce the goods in the world around the adventurers. Commoners usually have no desire to live the dangerous life of an

adventurer and none of the skills needed to undertake the challenges adventurers must face. Commoners are skilled in their own
vocations and make up the majority of the population.
Commoners make poor adventurers. This class should be
reserved for everyone who does not qualify for any other class.
Hit Die: d4.

Table 4–4: The Commoner
Fort
Save
+0
+0
+1
+1
+1
+2
+2
+2
+3
+3
+3
+4
+4
+4
+5
+5
+5
+6
+6
+6

Ref
Save
+0
+0
+1
+1
+1
+2
+2
+2
+3
+3
+3
+4
+4
+4
+5
+5
+5
+6
+6
+6

Will
Save
+0
+0
+1
+1
+1
+2
+2
+2
+3
+3
+3
+4
+4
+4
+5
+5
+5
+6
+6
+6

NPC
Level
1st
2nd
3rd
4th
5th
6th
7th
8th
9th
10th
11th
12th
13th
14th
15th
16th
17th
18th
19th
20th

Base
Attack Bonus
+0
+1
+2
+3
+3
+4
+5
+6/+1
+6/+1
+7/+2
+8/+3
+9/+4
+9/+4
+10/+5
+11/+6/+1
+12/+7/+2
+12/+7/+2
+13/+8/+3
+14/+9/+4
+15/+10/+5

Fort
Save
+0
+0
+1
+1
+1
+2
+2
+2
+3
+3
+3
+4
+4
+4
+5
+5
+5
+6
+6
+6

Ref
Save
+0
+0
+1
+1
+1
+2
+2
+2
+3
+3
+3
+4
+4
+4
+5
+5
+5
+6
+6
+6

Will
Save
+2
+3
+3
+4
+4
+5
+5
+6
+6
+7
+7
+8
+8
+9
+9
+10
+10
+11
+11
+12

CHAPTER 4:

Base
Attack Bonus
+0
+1
+1
+2
+2
+3
+3
+4
+4
+5
+5
+6/+1
+6/+1
+7/+2
+7/+2
+8/+3
+8/+3
+9/+4
+9/+4
+10/+5

Table 4–5: The Expert

NONPLAYER
CHARACTERS

NPC
Level
1st
2nd
3rd
4th
5th
6th
7th
8th
9th
10th
11th
12th
13th
14th
15th
16th
17th
18th
19th
20th

Skill Points at 1st Level: (6 + Int modifier) × 4.
Skill Points at Each Additional Level: 6 + Int modifier.

Class Features
The following is a class feature of the expert NPC class.
Weapon and Armor Proficiency: The expert is proficient in
the use of all simple weapons and with light armor but not shields.

Class Skills
The commoner’s class skills (and the key ability for each skill) are
Climb (Str), Craft (Int), Handle Animal (Cha), Jump (Str), Listen
(Wis), Profession (Wis), Ride (Dex), Spot (Wis), Swim (Str), and
Use Rope (Dex). See Chapter 4: Skills in the Player’s Handbook for
skill descriptions.
Skill Points at 1st Level: (2 + Int modifier) × 4.
Skill Points at Each Additional Level: 2 + Int modifier.

Class Features
The following is a class feature of the commoner NPC class.
Weapon and Armor Proficiency: The commoner is proficient
with one simple weapon. He is not proficient with any other
weapons, nor is he proficient with any type of armor or shields.

Starting Gear
5d4 gp worth of equipment.

EXPERT
Experts operate as craftsfolk and professionals in the world. They
normally do not have the inclination or training to be adventurers,
but they are capable in their own field. The skilled blacksmith, the
astute barrister, the canny merchant, the educated sage, and the
master shipwright are all experts.
The expert could make a PC-worthy class choice, but only for
those players willing to create a character focused on something
other than a traditional adventuring career. Experts have a vast
range of skills. Most towns and communities have at least a few
experts in various fields. DMs should use the expert class for
NPCs such as elite craftsfolk, experienced merchants, seasoned
guides, and other highly skilled professionals.
Hit Die: d6.

Starting Gear

3d4 × 10 gp worth of equipment.

WARRIOR
The warrior is a strong, stout combatant without the specialized
training and finesse of a fighter, the survival and outdoor skills of
the barbarian or ranger, or the sophistication and religious focus
of a paladin. The warrior is a straightforward and unsubtle opponent in a fight, but a respectable one.
Warriors are not as good as fighters, and thus PCs should be encouraged to avoid this class in favor of the standard combat-oriented ones given in the Player’s Handbook. Representing experience in fighting and related areas but not sophisticated training,
warriors are common among the humanoids and giants (orcs,
ogres, and so forth). You can also use the warrior class for soldiers
(although perhaps not for commanders or career soldiers), guards,
local thugs, toughs, bullies, and even regular people who have
learned to defend their homes with some ability.
Hit Die: d8.

Class Skills
The warrior’s class skills (and the key ability for each skill) are
Climb (Str), Handle Animal (Cha), Intimidate (Cha), Jump (Str),
Ride (Dex), and Swim (Str). See Chapter 4: Skills in the Player’s
Handbook for skill descriptions.
Skill Points at 1st Level: (2 + Int modifier) × 4.
Skill Points at Each Additional Level: 2 + Int modifier.

Class Features
The following is a class feature of the warrior NPC class.
Weapon and Armor Proficiency: The warrior is proficient in
the use of all simple and martial weapons and all armor and shields.

Class Skills
The expert can choose any ten skills to be class skills. See Chapter
4: Skills in the Player’s Handbook for skill descriptions.

Starting Gear

3d4 × 10 gp worth of equipment.

109

NONPLAYER
CHARACTERS

CHAPTER 4:

Table 4–6: The Warrior
NPC
Level
1st
2nd
3rd
4th
5th
6th
7th
8th
9th
10th
11th
12th
13th
14th
15th
16th
17th
18th
19th
20th

Base
Attack Bonus
+1
+2
+3
+4
+5
+6/+1
+7/+2
+8/+3
+9/+4
+10/+5
+11/+6/+1
+12/+7/+2
+13/+8/+3
+14/+9/+4
+15/+10/+5
+16/+11/+6/+1
+17/+12/+7/+2
+18/+13/+8/+3
+19/+14/+9/+4
+20/+15/+10/+5

Table 4–7: Random NPC Alignment
Fort
Save
+2
+3
+3
+4
+4
+5
+5
+6
+6
+7
+7
+8
+8
+9
+9
+10
+10
+11
+11
+12

Ref
Save
+0
+0
+1
+1
+1
+2
+2
+2
+3
+3
+3
+4
+4
+4
+5
+5
+5
+6
+6
+6

Will
Save
+0
+0
+1
+1
+1
+2
+2
+2
+3
+3
+3
+4
+4
+4
+5
+5
+5
+6
+6
+6

NPC STATISTICS

This section provides a set of baseline statistics for NPCs of every
standard class at levels 1st through 20th, with rules for how to
adjust those statistics for various races and kinds of monster. Starting with just an NPC’s level (or Challenge Rating, which is usually
the same thing), you can generate an NPC randomly, or you can
put the pieces of the character together as you see fit. The rules
cover every kind of character from a typical dwarf fighter to a halffiend minotaur sorcerer.
These statistics give you basic characters with a minimum
amount of work. If you want to put more effort into handcrafting
NPCs, you can use these statistics as a place to start.
To create an NPC, you can select options from the following
tables, or you can put a character together from scratch.

TABLE-BASED NPCS
The tables in this section are intended to help you create an NPC
when planning an adventure. They give the bare bones and suggest basic equipment, leaving the rest to your design. To create an
NPC from these tables, follow these steps.
1. Decide the NPC’s class and level, and what race or kind of
monster the NPC is.
2. Find the class and level on the NPC tables (Table 4–12 to
Table 4–22).
3. Modify the statistics given there by the race or kind information from Adjustments by Race or Kind, page 126.
4. Equip the NPC with the basic gear given on the table and purchase additional equipment up to the total gp amount allowed for
that character level. If you prefer, adjust the basic gear to suit your
character concept.

Random Class, Level, and Race or Kind

110

To randomly generate an NPC’s class, level, and race or kind of
monster, start with the NPC’s level (or Challenge Rating, which is
usually the same thing). Then determine the following information randomly.
1. Roll the NPC’s alignment on Table 4–7: Random NPC Alignment.
2. Roll class randomly on Table 4–8: Random NPC Class.
3. Roll the race or kind randomly on the appropriate column on
Table 4–9: Good NPC Race or Kind, 4–10: Neutral NPC Race or
Kind, or 4–11: Evil NPC Race or Kind.

d%
01–20
21–50
51–100

Alignment
Good (LG, NG, or CG)
Neutral (LN, N, or CN)
Evil (LE, NE, or CE)

Table 4–8: Random NPC Class
Good
01–05
06–10
11–30
31–35
36–45
46–50
51–55
56–65
66–75
76–80
81–100

Neutral
01–05
06–10
11–15
16–25
26–45
46–50
—
51–55
56–75
76–80
81–100

Evil
01–10
11–15
16–35
36–40
41–50
51–55
—
56–60
61–80
81–85
86–100

Class
Barbarian
Bard
Cleric
Druid
Fighter
Monk
Paladin
Ranger
Rogue
Sorcerer
Wizard

HANDCRAFTED NPC
To create an NPC from scratch, simply use the information from
the Player’s Handbook, the Monster Manual, and the earlier parts of
this chapter.
The one additional piece of information you need is the value of
an NPC’s gear. See Table 4–23: NPC Gear Value to find the total
value of the NPC’s equipment. Select equipment whose total value
is this amount or less and let the balance be cash on hand. You can
use the other tables as guidelines and shortcuts.
If the NPC’s gear includes a magic item with charges, consider
the item’s value to be one-half its full market price, and roll randomly for the number of charges it has just as you normally do for
a random magic item. (If the item is one of the few with value
beyond its charges, however, halve only the part of its value that’s
based on its charges. Use your discretion.)
When selecting gear for a spellcaster, count magic items that
she can make herself as 70% as expensive as normal. This rule
effectively treats the XP cost as an extra gold piece cost. If the item
is charged, then count it as half normal value (a net 35%) and
determine charges left randomly.

PREGENERATED NPCS
If you’re in a hurry, and you don’t have the time to create an appropriate NPC, you can use one of the pregenerated NPCs that
accompany Tables 4–12 through 4–22. For each character class,
one or two samples are presented at different levels of advancement. You might have to adjust some of these character’s statistics
“on the fly” to account for a different kind of creature or a different
character level.

COMBINATION METHOD
Of course, you can combine these methods, using the material
here as a starting point and then making different choices for your
NPC: different skills, different feats, different gear, even different
classes (for a multiclass character).

ELITE AND AVERAGE CHARACTERS
All PCs and all the NPCs described in this section are “elite,” a cut
above the average. Elite characters (whether they are PCs or not)
have above-average ability scores and automatically get maximum
hit points from their first Hit Die. Average characters, on the other
hand, have average abilities (rolled on 3d6) and don’t get maximum
hit points from their first Hit Die. The monsters described in the
Monster Manual are average characters rather than elite ones
(though elite monsters also exist). Likewise, some fighters, wizards,
and so on are average people rather than elites; they have fewer hit
points and lower ability scores than the NPCs described here.

Table 4–9: Good NPC Race or Kind

The NPC descriptions that follow summarize a lot of information
about the NPCs they describe. Below are details about each category of information.
Starting Ability Scores: All these NPCs have starting ability
scores that were determined by using the elite array (15, 14, 13, 12,
10, 8) and arranging the numbers to the character’s best advantage.
(See page 169 for more about the elite array and other alternative
methods of determining ability scores.)
Increased Ability Scores: Some of the NPC’s ability scores
increase at higher levels, either because the character attains a
level where an ability score increase is gained or because the character gains possession of a magic item that improves a score. Magically enhanced ability scores are in parentheses.
Melee and Ranged: Each NPC is equipped with a melee
weapon and a ranged weapon (the monk has an unarmed attack
listing as well). These columns on the table provide the NPC’s total

CHAPTER 4:

READING THE NPC DESCRIPTIONS

Level2
Normal
Normal
Normal
Normal
Normal
Normal
Normal
Normal
Normal
Normal
Normal
Normal
Normal
Normal
Normal
Normal
–1
–1
–2
–2

NONPLAYER
CHARACTERS

Bbn
Brd
Clr
Drd
Ftr
Mnk
Pal
Rgr
Rog
Sor
Wiz
Race/Kind
—
01
01
—
0
01–02 01–10
—
—
01–02
01
Aasimar (planetouched)
—
—
02
—
01–03
—
—
—
—
03
—
Dwarf, deep
01–02 02–06 03–22
—
04–33
03
11–20 01–05 01–05 04–05
02
Dwarf, hill
—
—
23–24
—
34–41
—
21
—
06
06
—
Dwarf, mountain
—
07–11
25
01
42
—
—
—
—
07–08 03–07
Elf, gray
—
12–36 26–35 02–11 43–47 04–13
—
06–20 07–19 09–11 08–41
Elf, high
03–32
37
36–40 12–21
—
—
—
21
—
12–36
—
Elf, wild
33–34
38
41
22–31
—
—
—
22–36
—
37
42
Elf, wood
—
39
42
32–36
—
—
—
37–41
20
38
43
Gnome, forest
—
40–44 43–51
37
48
—
22
42
21–25 39–40 44–48
Gnome, rock
35
45–53 52–56 38–46 49–50 14–18 23–27 43–57 26–35 41–45 49–58
Half-elf
36
54
57–66
47
51
19
28
58
36–60 46–54 59–63
Halfling, lightfoot
—
55
67
—
52
20
29
—
61–66
55
64
Halfling, deep
—
56
68–69
48
—
—
—
59
67–72
56
65–67
Halfling, tallfellow
37–61
57
70
49
53–57 21–25
30
60–64 73–77 57–58
68
Half-orc
62–98 58–97 71–95 50–99 58–97 26–97 31–97 65–97 78–96 59–95 69–96
Human
—
98
96
—
—
—
—
—
97
96
97
Gnome, svirfneblin
99
99
97–98
100
98
98
98
98
98
97
98
Half-celestial1
100
100
99
—
99
99
99
99
99
98–99
99
Half-dragon1
—
—
100
—
100
100
100
100
100
100
100
Werebear (lycanthrope)1
1 Reroll to determine the NPC’s base race or kind. (On the reroll, ignore rolls marked with a 1.)
2 If the creature is exceptionally powerful, reduce its class level to balance. If its class level is 0 or lower, reroll.

attack bonuses due to class and level. The Ranged figure does not
include any bonus from ammunition that might also apply.
F/R/W: The class’s level-based bonuses on Fortitude, Reflex,
and Will saves.
Skill Pts./Feats: The numbers of skill points and feats an NPC
has are calculated assuming a nonhuman character; for a human,
add skill points and bonus feats as appropriate. The number of
total feats includes any bonus feats granted by the class.
Spells: The number of spells of each level a spellcaster has is
given in order of level, from lowest to highest. Thus, “6/7/4” for a
4th-level sorcerer means six 0-level spells, seven 1st-level spells,
and four 2nd-level spells.
Gear: This column lists the basic armor, generic melee and
ranged weapons (mundane, masterwork, or magical), and
common types of magic equipment each NPC has. You can pick
any simple or martial weapon of an appropriate kind (but not an
exotic weapon). If the ranged weapon you choose is a composite

Table 4–10: Neutral NPC Race or Kind
Bbn
Brd
Clr
Drd
Ftr
Mnk
Rgr
Rog
Sor
Wiz
01
01
01–15
—
01–10
—
—
01
—
—
02
02–03
16–25
—
11–29
—
01
02–04
01
—
—
—
26
—
30–34
—
—
—
—
—
—
04–05
—
01
—
—
—
—
—
01
—
06–15
27
02–06
35
01–02
02–06
05–08
02
02–26
03–13
16
28
07–11
—
—
07
—
03–12
—
14
17–21
29–38
12–31
36–41
03
08–36
09
13–15
27–28
—
—
—
32
—
—
37
—
—
—
—
22–23
39
—
—
—
38
10
16
29
15–16
24–33
40–48
33–37
42–46
04–13
39–55
11–25
17–31
30–44
17–18
34–36
49–58
38
47
14
56
26–53
32–41
45–47
19
37
59
—
48
15
—
54–58
42
—
—
38
60
39
—
—
57
59–63
43
48–49
20–58
39–40
61–62
40
49–58
16–25
58–67
64–73
44–48
50
59–87
41–98
63–90
41–88
59–96
26–100
68–96
74–97
49–95
51–97
88–98
—
91–97
89–98
97
—
97–98
—
96–97
—
—
—
—
—
—
—
—
—
—
—
—
—
98
—
98
—
—
98
98
98
99
99
99
99
99
—
99
99
99
99
100
100
100
100
100
—
100
100
100
100
1 Reroll to determine the NPC’s base race or kind. (On the reroll, ignore rolls marked with a 1.)
2 If the creature is exceptionally powerful, reduce its class level to balance. If its class level is 0 or lower, reroll.

Race/Kind
Dwarf, deep
Dwarf, hill
Dwarf, mountain
Elf, gray
Elf, high
Elf, wild
Elf, wood
Gnome, forest
Gnome, rock
Half-elf
Halfling, lightfoot
Halfling, deep
Halfling, tallfellow
Half-orc
Human
Lizardfolk
Gnome, svirfneblin
Doppelganger
Wereboar (lycanthrope)1
Weretiger (lycanthrope)1

Level2
Normal
Normal
Normal
Normal
Normal
Normal
Normal
Normal
Normal
Normal
Normal
Normal
Normal
Normal
Normal
Normal
–1
–3
–1
–1

111

NONPLAYER
CHARACTERS

CHAPTER 4:

Table 4–11: Evil NPC Race or Kind
Bbn
Brd
Clr
Drd
Ftr
Mnk
Rgr
Rog
Sor
Wiz
—
—
01–02
—
01–02
—
—
01
—
—
—
—
03
—
03–04
—
—
—
—
—
—
01
04
—
05
—
01
02
—
01–10
01
—
05
—
—
—
—
—
01
—
02–03
02
06–08
01–02
06–07
—
02–11
03
—
11
04
03–17
09–18
03
08–12
01–10
12–28
04–18
02–16
12–26
05
18
19–20
—
13
—
29
19–38
17–21
27
06
19
21
—
14
—
—
39
22
—
—
20
22
04
—
—
30
40
23
28
07–29
21–22
23–25
05–06
15–23
11–20
31–39
41–50
24–28
—
30–39
23–97
26–56
07–56
24–53
21–90
40–69
51–70
29–68
29–78
40–44
—
57–63
57–71
54
—
70–71
—
69
—
45
98
64
72
55
—
—
71–85
70
—
46
—
65
73
56–80
91–93
72
86
71
79–80
47
—
66
74
81
—
—
87
72–86
—
48–77
—
67
75
82–86
—
—
—
—
—
78
99
68
—
—
94
—
88–89
—
81
—
—
69–71
—
87
—
—
—
—
—
—
—
—
—
88
—
—
—
—
82–91
—
—
72
—
89
—
—
—
—
—
—
—
—
—
90
—
—
—
—
—
79–83
—
73–74
76–100
91
—
73–92
—
87
92
84
—
75–89
—
92
—
93
—
88–90
—
85–86
—
90–91
—
93
—
94
90–93
91
93
87–90
—
92
—
94
—
95
—
92
—
91–94
—
93
—
—
—
—
—
93
—
—
—
94
—
95
—
—
94
94
94
—
—
95
—
96
95–96
—
—
95
95–96
—
—
96
—
97
97–98
96
95–96
96
97
95–96
100
97
—
98
—
97–98
97
97
98
97–98
—
98–99
—
99
99
99
98–99
98
99
99–100
—
100
—
100
100
100
100
99–100
100
1 Reroll to determine the NPC’s base race or kind. (On the reroll, ignore rolls marked with a 1.)
2 If the creature is exceptionally powerful, reduce its class level to balance. If its class level is 0 or lower, reroll.

bow, that bow does not have a high strength rating (see Composite
Longbow, page 119 of the Player’s Handbook). For brevity in this
column, “mwk” is an abbreviation for “masterwork,” and the terms
“melee” and “ranged” should be read as “melee weapon” and “ranged
weapon.” Also, the name of a specific magic item is shortened to a
single word in all references after the first one; for instance, ring of
protection becomes ring.
The wealth possessed by an NPC in excess of his or her gear’s
value is indicated at the end of this entry and can be used to purchase additional equipment as desired. The expense of outfitting a
character with an exotic weapon or with a ranged weapon that has
a high strength rating should come out of this excess wealth.
These balances are rounded to the nearest 50 gp for neatness; it’s
okay to exceed them by a few gp.
Spells Known per Level: For bards and sorcerers, an additional table gives the number of spells known at each level from
1st through 20th.

NPC BARBARIAN
Starting Ability Scores: Str 15, Dex 14, Con 13, Int 10, Wis 12,
Cha 8.
Increased Ability Scores: 4th, Str 16; 8th, Con 14; 12th, Str 17;
16th, Str 18; 17th, Str 18 (20); 19th, Str 18 (24), Dex 14 (16); 20th,
Str 19 (25).

112

Sample 5th-Level NPC Barbarian: Half-orc Bbn 5; CR 5;
Medium humanoid (orc); HD 5d12+5; hp 43; Init +2; Spd 30 ft.;
AC 18, touch 12, flat-footed 18; Base Atk +5; Grp +9; Atk +11 melee
(1d12+6/×3, masterwork greataxe) or +7 ranged (1d8+4/×3, composite longbow [+4 Str bonus]); Full Atk +11 melee (1d12+6/×3,

Race/Kind
Dwarf, deep
Dwarf, hill
Elf, high
Elf, wild
Elf, wood
Half-elf
Halfling, lightfoot
Halfling, deep
Halfling, tallfellow
Half-orc
Human
Lizardfolk
Goblin
Hobgoblin
Kobold
Orc
Tiefling (planetouched)
Drow (elf) [female]
Drow (elf) [male]
Dwarf, duergar
Derro
Gnoll
Troglodyte
Bugbear
Ogre
Minotaur
Mind flayer
Ogre mage
Wererat (lycanthrope)1
Werewolf (lycanthrope)1
Half-fiend1
Half-dragon1

Level2
Normal
Normal
Normal
Normal
Normal
Normal
Normal
Normal
Normal
Normal
Normal
Normal
Normal
Normal
Normal
Normal
Normal
–1
–1
–1
–1
–1
–1
–2
–2
–4
–8
–8
–1
–1
–2
–2

masterwork greataxe) or +7 ranged (1d8+4/×3, composite longbow [+4 Str bonus]); SA —; SQ darkvision 60 ft., improved
uncanny dodge, rage 2/day, trap sense +1, uncanny dodge; AL CE;
SV Fort +5, Ref +3, Will +2; Str 18, Dex 14, Con 13, Int 8, Wis 12,
Cha 6.
Skills and Feats: Climb +7, Jump +7, Listen +7, Survival +7;
Dodge, Weapon Focus (greataxe).
Improved Uncanny Dodge (Ex): This barbarian cannot be flanked
except by a rogue of at least four levels higher than the barbarian.
Rage (Ex): +4 to Str, +4 to Con, +2 on Will saves, –2 to AC for up
to 6 rounds.
Trap Sense (Ex): This barbarian has an intuitive sense that alerts
him to danger from traps, granting a +1 bonus on Reflex saves and
a +1 dodge bonus to AC against attacks by traps.
Uncanny Dodge (Ex): This barbarian can react to danger before
his senses would normally allow him to do so. He retains his Dexterity bonus to AC even when caught flat-footed.
Possessions: +1 breastplate, masterwork greataxe, composite longbow (+4 Str bonus), 20 arrows, 5 cold iron arrows, 5 silvered
arrows, 2 potions of cure moderate wounds, potion of lesser restoration,
potion of neutralize poison, 3 flasks alchemist’s fire, climber’s kit,
dagger.
Sample 10th-Level NPC Barbarian: Half-orc Bbn 10; CR 10;
Medium humanoid (orc); HD 10d12+30; hp 90; Init +2; Spd 40 ft.;
AC 18, touch 12, flat-footed 18; Base Atk +10; Grp +14; Atk +16
melee (1d12+7/19–20/×3, +1 greataxe) or +13 ranged (1d8+5/×3, +1
composite longbow [+4 Str bonus]); Full Atk +16/+11 melee
(1d12+7/19–20/×3, +1 greataxe) or +13/+8 ranged (1d8+5/×3, +1
composite longbow [+4 Str bonus]); SA —; SQ darkvision 60 ft.,

Table 4–12: NPC Barbarian
AC
16
17
17
17
18
18
18
19

Melee
+4
+5
+6
+8
+9
+10/5
+11/6
+12/7

Ranged
+3
+5
+6
+7
+8
+9/4
+10/5
+11/6

F/R/W
+3/+2/+1
+4/+2/+1
+4/+3/+2
+5/+3/+2
+5/+3/+2
+6/+4/+3
+6/+4/+3
+8/+4/+3

Skill Pts./
Feats
16/1
20/1
24/2
28/2
32/2
36/3
40/3
44/3

9th

81

20

+13/8

+12/7

+8/+5/+4

48/4

10th
11th
12th
13th
14th

90
98
107
115
124

20
21
22
24
24

+14/9
+15/10/5
+16/11/6
+17/12/7
+19/14/9

+14/9
+15/10/5
+16/11/6
+17/12/7
+18/13/8

+9/+5/+4
+9/+5/+4
+10/+6/+5
+10/+6/+5
+11/+6/+5

52/4
56/4
60/5
64/5
68/5

15th

132

24

+21/16/11

+19/14/9

+11/+7/+6

72/6

16th

141

24

+24/19/14/9

+21/16/11/6

+12/+7/+6

76/6

17th

149

26

+26/21/16/11

+22/17/12/7

+12/+7/+6

80/6

18th

158

28

+27/22/17/12

+24/19/14/9

+13/+7/+6

84/7

19th

166

29

+30/25/20/15

+26/21/16/11

+13/+8/+6

88/7

20th

175

29

+31/26/21/16

+27/22/17/12

+14/+9/+7

92/7

damage reduction 2/–, improved uncanny dodge, rage 3/day, trap
sense +3, uncanny dodge; AL CE; SV Fort +9, Ref +5, Will +4; Str
18, Dex 14, Con 14, Int 8, Wis 12, Cha 6.
Skills and Feats: Climb +11, Jump +10, Listen +7, Survival +8;
Dodge, Improved Critical (greataxe), Power Attack, Weapon Focus
(greataxe).
Improved Uncanny Dodge (Ex): This barbarian cannot be flanked
except by a rogue of at least four levels higher than the barbarian.
Rage (Ex): +4 to Str, +4 to Con, +2 on Will saves, –2 to AC for up
to 7 rounds.
Trap Sense (Ex): This barbarian has an intuitive sense that alerts
him to danger from traps, granting a +3 bonus on Reflex saves and
a +3 dodge bonus to AC against attacks by traps.
Uncanny Dodge (Ex): This barbarian can react to danger before
his senses would normally allow him to do so. He retains his Dexterity bonus to AC even when caught flat-footed.
Possessions: +2 breastplate, amulet of natural armor +1, +1 greataxe, +1
composite longbow (+4 Str bonus), 20 arrows, 5 silvered arrows, 2
potions of cure moderate wounds, climber’s kit, dagger.

NPC BARD
Starting Ability Scores: Str 10, Dex 13, Con 12, Int 14, Wis 8,
Cha 15.
Increased Ability Scores: 4th, Cha 16; 8th, Cha 17 (19); 12th,
Cha 18 (20); 16th, Cha 19 (21); 17th, Cha 19 (23); 18th, Cha 19 (25);
20th, Cha 20 (26).
Sample 15th-Level NPC Bard: Human Brd 15; CR 15; Medium
humanoid; HD 15d6+15; hp 70; Init +5; Spd 30 ft.; AC 19, touch 14,
flat-footed 18; Base Atk +11; Grp +11; Atk +14 melee (1d8+2/19–20,
+2 longsword) or +13 ranged (1d8/19–20, masterwork light crossbow); Full Atk +14/+9/+4 melee (1d8+2/19–20, +2 longsword) or +13
ranged (1d8/19–20, masterwork light crossbow); SA —; SQ bardic
knowledge 17, countersong 15/day, fascinate 15/day, inspire competence 15/day, inspire courage 15/day, inspire greatness 15/day,

Gear
Mwk scale, mwk melee, mundane ranged, 200 gp
Mwk breastplate, mwk melee, mundane ranged, 1,200 gp
As 2nd level, except 1,700 gp
As 2nd level, except 2,500 gp
+1 breastplate, mwk melee, mundane ranged, 2,500 gp
As 5th level, except 3,800 gp
+1 breastplate, +1 melee, mundane ranged, 3,500 gp
+1 breastplate, amulet of natural armor +1, +1 melee, mundane
ranged, 3,500 gp
+2 breastplate, amulet +1, +1 melee, mundane ranged,
6,000 gp
+2 breastplate, amulet +1, +1 melee, +1 ranged, 1,000 gp
+3 breastplate, amulet +1, +1 melee, +1 ranged, 1,000 gp
+3 breastplate, amulet +2, +1 melee, +1 ranged, 1,000 gp
As 12th level, except 9,000 gp
+3 breastplate, amulet +2, ring of protection +2, +2 melee, +1
ranged, 11,000 gp
+3 breastplate, amulet +2, ring +2, +3 melee, +1 ranged,
14,000 gp
+3 breastplate, amulet +2, ring +2, +4 melee, +2 ranged,
25,000 gp
+4 breastplate, amulet +3, ring +2, +4 melee, +2 ranged,
gauntlets of ogre power +2, 3,000 gp
+5 breastplate, amulet +3, ring +3, +4 melee, +3 ranged,
gauntlets +2, 17,000 gp
+5 breastplate, amulet +3, ring +3, +4 melee, +3 ranged, belt of
giant Strength +6, gloves of Dexterity +2, 16,000 gp
As 19th level, except 66,000 gp

song of freedom 15/day, suggestion; AL NE; SV Fort +6, Ref +10, Will
+8; Str 10, Dex 13, Con 12, Int 14, Wis 8, Cha 20.
Skills and Feats: Balance +3, Bluff +23, Decipher Script +20,
Diplomacy +30, Gather Information +23, Intimidate +7, Jump +2,
Perform +26, Sense Motive +17, Spellcraft +23, Tumble +19, Use
Magic Device +5; Dodge, Improved Initiative, Mobility, Skill
Focus (Diplomacy), Skill Focus (Perform), Skill Focus (Spellcraft),
Weapon Focus (longsword).
Countersong (Su): This bard can counter magical effects that
depend on sound by making a Perform check for each round of
countersong. Any creature within 30 feet of the bard who is
affected by a sonic or language-dependent magical attack may use
the bard’s Perform check result in place of his or her saving throw
if desired. Countersong lasts for 10 rounds.
Fascinate (Sp): This bard can cause up to five creatures within 90
feet that can see and hear him to become fascinated with him (sit
quietly, –4 penalty on skill checks made as reactions, such as
Listen and Spot checks). The bard’s Perform check result is the DC
for the opponent’s Will save. Any obvious threat breaks the effect.
Fascination lasts 15 rounds.
Inspire Competence (Su): An ally within 30 feet who can see and
hear this bard gets a +2 competence bonus on skill checks with a
particular skill for as long as he can hear the music. Inspire confidence lasts for up to 20 rounds.
Inspire Courage (Su): Allies (including the bard) who can hear
this bard receive a +3 morale bonus on saves against charm and
fear effects and a +3 morale bonus on attack and weapon damage
rolls. The effect lasts for 5 rounds after the ally can no longer hear
the bard.
Inspire Greatness (Su): After hearing this bard sing for a full
round, up to three creatures within 30 feet (including the bard, if
desired) gain +2 Hit Dice (d10s that grant temporary hit points), a
+2 competence bonus on attacks, and a +1 competence bonus on
Fortitude saves. The effect lasts until 5 rounds after the creature
can no longer hear the bard.

CHAPTER 4:

hp
13
20
28
35
43
50
58
73

NONPLAYER
CHARACTERS

Level
1st
2nd
3rd
4th
5th
6th
7th
8th

113

NONPLAYER
CHARACTERS

CHAPTER 4:

Table 4–13: NPC Bard
Level
1st
2nd
3rd
4th
5th

hp
7
11
16
20
25

AC
14
14
14
14
15

Melee
+1
+2
+3
+4
+4

Ranged
+2
+3
+4
+5
+5

F/R/W
+1/+3/+1
+1/+4/+2
+2/+4/+2
+2/+5/+3
+2/+5/+3

Skill Pts./
Feats
24/1
30/1
36/2
42/2
48/2

Spells
per Day
2
3/1
3/2
3/3/1
3/4/2

6th
7th
8th

29
34
38

15
15
15

+5
+6
+7/2

+6
+7
+8/3

+3/+6/+4
+3/+6/+4
+3/+7/+5

54/3
60/3
66/3

3/4/3
3/4/3/1
3/4/4/2

9th
10th

43
47

15
15

+7/2
+8/3

+8/3
+9/4

+4/+7/+5
+4/+8/+6

72/4
78/4

3/4/4/3
3/4/4/3/1

11th

52

16

+9/4

+10/5

+4/+8/+6

84/4

3/4/4/4/2

12th

56

17

+10/5

+11/6

+5/+9/+7

90/5

3/5/4/4/3

13th

61

18

+10/5

+11/6

+5/+9/+7

96/5

3/5/4/4/3/1

14th

65

19

+12/7

+12/7

+5/+10/+8

102/5

4/5/4/4/4/2

15th
16th

70
74

19
20

+13/8/3
+14/9/4

+13/8/3
+14/9/4

+6/+10/+8
+6/+11/+9

108/6
114/6

4/6/4/4/4/3
4/6/5/4/4/3

17th

79

22

+14/9/4

+14/9/4

+6/+11/+9

120/6

4/6/6/5/4/4/2

18th

83

23

+15/10/5

+15/10/5

+7/+12/+10

126/7

4/6/6/6/5/4/3

19th
88
23
+16/11/6 +16/11/6 +7/+12/+10
20th
92
23
+17/12/7 +17/12/7 +7/+13/+11
*15% chance of arcane spell failure at 1st–9th level.

132/7
138/7

4/6/6/6/5/5/4
4/6/6/6/6/5/5

Gear
Mwk studded leather*, mwk melee, mwk ranged
As 1st level, plus 1,000 gp
As 1st level, plus 1,500 gp
As 1st level, plus 2,300 gp
Mwk studded leather, amulet of natural armor +1,
mwk melee, mwk ranged, 1,400 gp
As 5th level, except 2,500 gp
As 5th level, except 4,000 gp
Mwk studded leather, amulet +1, mwk melee,
mwk ranged, cloak of Charisma +2, 2,500 gp
As 8th level, except 5,000 gp
amulet +2, bracers of armor +2, mwk melee,
mwk ranged, cloak +2
amulet +2, bracers +3, mwk melee, mwk ranged,
cloak +2
amulet +2, bracers +3, ring of protection +1, +1 melee,
mwk ranged, cloak +2, 1,400 gp
amulet +2, bracers +3, ring +2, +1 melee, mwk
ranged, cloak +2, 3,500 gp
amulet +2, bracers +3, ring +3, +2 melee, mwk
ranged, cloak +2, 2,500 gp
As 14th level, except 16,500 gp
amulet +2, bracers +4, ring +3, +2 melee, mwk
ranged, cloak +2, 28,500 gp
amulet +3, bracers +5, ring +3, +2 melee, mwk
ranged, cloak +4, 20,000 gp
amulet +4, bracers +5, ring +3, +2 melee, mwk
ranged, cloak +6, 22,000 gp
As 18th level, except 62,000 gp
As 18th level, except 112,000 gp

Spells Known per Level
Level
1st
5th
9th
13th
17th

Spells
4
6/4/3
6/4/4/3
6/4/4/4/4/2
6/5/5/4/4/4/3

Level
2nd
6th
10th
14th
18th

Spells
5/2
6/4/3
6/4/4/4/2
6/4/4/4/4/3
6/5/5/5/4/4/3

Song of Freedom (Sp): By singing for 1 minute without interruption, this bard can create a break enchantment effect as the spell
from a 15th-level caster, on a single target within 30 feet. The bard
cannot use this ability on himself.
Suggestion (Sp): This bard can make a suggestion (as the spell) to
a creature he has already fascinated. A DC 22 Will save negates the
effect.
Bard Spells Known (4/6/4/4/4/3; save DC 15 + spell level):
0—dancing lights, daze, ghost sound, light, lullaby, read magic;
1st—cause fear, charm person, cure light wounds, sleep; 2nd—cure
moderate wounds, glitterdust, hold person, invisibility; 3rd—blink,
charm monster, dispel magic, glibness; 4th—break enchantment,
dominate person, hold monster, shout; 5th—greater dispel magic,
mind fog, mislead.
Possessions: Amulet of natural armor +2, bracers of armor +3, ring of
protection +3, +2 longsword, masterwork light crossbow, 10 bolts, 5
cold iron bolts, 5 silvered bolts, 3 potions of cure serious wounds, 2
potions of eagle’s splendor, 2 potions of fly, 3 potions of glibness, 2 potions
of tongues, cloak of Charisma +2, wand of summon monster II, masterwork lute.

NPC CLERIC

114

Starting Ability Scores: Str 13, Dex 8, Con 14, Int 10, Wis 15,
Cha 12.

Level
3rd
7th
11th
15th
19th

Spells
6/3
6/4/4/2
6/4/4/4/3
6/4/4/4/4/3
6/5/5/5/5/4/4

Level
4th
8th
12th
16th
20th

Spells
6/3/2
6/4/4/3
6/4/4/4/3
6/5/4/4/4/4
6/5/5/5/5/5/4

Increased Ability Scores: 4th, Wis 16; 8th, Wis 17; 10th, Wis
17 (19); 12th, Wis 18 (20); 13th, Dex 8 (10); 14th, Wis 18 (22); 16th,
Wis 19 (23); 17th, Wis 19 (25); 20th, Wis 20 (26).
Sample 5th-Level NPC Cleric: Human Clr 5; CR 5; Medium
humanoid; HD 5d8+10; hp 36; Init –1; Spd 20 ft.; AC 21, touch 9,
flat-footed 21; Base Atk +3; Grp +4; Atk +6 melee (1d8+1, masterwork morningstar) or +2 ranged (1d8/19–20, light crossbow); Full
Atk +6 melee (1d8+1, masterwork morningstar) or +2 ranged
(1d8/19–20, light crossbow); SA turn undead 4/day; SQ —; AL
NG; SV Fort +6, Ref +2, Will +7; Str 13, Dex 8, Con 14, Int 10, Wis
16, Cha 12.
Skills and Feats: Concentration +10, Listen +11, Spellcraft +8;
Brew Potion, Lightning Reflexes, Weapon Focus (morningstar).
Cleric Spells Prepared (5/5/4/3; save DC 13 + spell level): 0—detect
magic, guidance (2), light, resistance; 1st—bane, bless (2), sanctuary*, shield
of faith; 2nd—aid, bull’s strength, cure moderate wounds*, sound burst;
3rd—dispel magic, magic circle against evil, protection from energy*.
*Domain spell. Domains: Healing (cast healing spells at +1 caster
level), Protection (protective ward grants +5 resistance bonus on
next save, 1/day).
Possessions: +1 full plate, +1 heavy steel shield, masterwork morningstar, light crossbow, 10 bolts, 2 scrolls of cure light wounds,
wooden holy symbol, 6 torches.

10 bolts, 2 scrolls of cure light wounds, wooden holy symbol, 6
torches.

NPC DRUID
Starting Ability Scores: Str 10, Dex 14, Con 13, Int 12, Wis 15,
Cha 8.
Increased Ability Scores: 4th, Wis 16; 8th, Wis 17; 11th, Wis
17 (19); 12th, Wis 18 (20); 14th, Wis 18 (22); 16th, Wis 19 (23);
17th, Wis 19 (25); 20th, Wis 20 (26).

CHAPTER 4:

Sample 5th-Level NPC Druid: Lizardfolk Drd 5; CR 6;
Medium humanoid (reptilian); HD 7d8+14; hp 50; Init +2; Spd 30
ft.; AC 19, touch 12, flat-footed 17; Base Atk +3; Grp +4; Atk +5
melee (1d4+1, 2 claws) and +3 melee (1d4, bite); or +6 melee
(1d6+2/18–20, +1 scimitar); or +7 ranged (1d6, masterwork sling);
Full Atk +5/+5 melee (1d4+1, 2 claws) and +3 melee (1d4, bite); or
+6 melee (1d6+2/18–20, +1 scimitar); or +7 ranged (1d6, masterwork sling); SA —; SQ animal companion, hold breath, link with
companion, nature sense, resist nature’s lure, share spells, trackless
step, wild empathy, wild shape (Small or Medium animal 1/day),
woodland stride; AL N; SV Fort +6, Ref +6, Will +7; Str 12, Dex 14,
Con 15, Int 10, Wis 16, Cha 8.
Skills and Feats: Balance +6, Concentration +6, Handle Animal

NONPLAYER
CHARACTERS

Sample 10th-Level NPC Cleric: Human Clr 10; CR 10; Medium humanoid; HD 10d8+20; hp 68; Init –1; Spd 20 ft.; AC 22,
touch 10, flat-footed 22; Base Atk +7; Grp +8; Atk +8 melee (1d8+2,
+1 morningstar) or +6 ranged (1d8+1/19–20, light crossbow with +1
crossbow bolts); Full Atk +8/+3 melee (1d8+2, +1 morningstar) or +6
ranged (1d8+1/19–20, light crossbow with +1 crossbow bolts); SA
turn undead 4/day; SQ —; AL NG; SV Fort +9, Ref +4, Will +11; Str
13, Dex 8, Con 14, Int 10, Wis 19, Cha 12.
Skills and Feats: Concentration +15, Listen +17, Spellcraft +13;
Brew Potion, Combat Casting, Lightning Reflexes, Scribe Scroll,
Weapon Focus (morningstar).
Cleric Spells Prepared (6/6/6/5/5/3; save DC 14 + spell level): 0—
detect magic, guidance (2), light, resistance (2); 1st—bane (2), bless (2),
sanctuary*, shield of faith; 2nd—aid, bull’s strength (2), cure moderate
wounds*, hold person, sound burst; 3rd—dispel magic (2), magic circle
against evil, protection from energy, searing light; 4th—divine power,
greater magic weapon, restoration (2), spell immunity*; 5th—flame
strike, spell resistance*, true seeing.
*Domain spell. Domains: Healing (cast healing spells at +1 caster
level), Protection (protective ward grants +10 resistance bonus on
next save, 1/day).
Possessions: +1 full plate, +1 heavy steel shield, ring of protection +1,
periapt of Wisdom +2, masterwork morningstar, light crossbow,

Table 4–14: NPC Cleric
Level
1st

hp
10

AC
17

Melee
+2

Ranged
–1

F/R/W
+4/–1/+4

Skill Pts./
Feats
8/1

Spells
per Day*
3/3

2nd

16

18

+3

+0

+5/–1/+5

10/1

4/4

3rd

23

19

+4

+1

+5/+0/+5

12/2

4/4/3

4th
5th
6th

29
36
42

19
19
20

+5
+5
+6

+2
+2
+3

+6/+0/+7
+6/+0/+7
+7/+1/+8

14/2
16/2
18/3

5/5/4
5/5/4/3
5/5/5/4

7th
8th

49
55

20
21

+7
+8/3

+4
+5/0

+7/+1/+8
+8/+1/+9

20/3
22/3

6/6/5/4/2
6/6/5/5/3

9th

62

22

+8/3

+5/0

+8/+2/+9

24/4

6/6/6/5/3/2

10th

68

22

+9/4

+6/1

+9/+2/+11

26/4

6/6/6/5/5/3

11th
12th

75
81

22
23

+10/5
+11/6

+7/2
+8/3

+9/+2/+11
+10/+3/+13

28/4
30/5

6/7/6/6/5/3/2
6/8/6/6/5/5/3

13th

88

24

+11/6

+9/4

+10/+4/+13

32/5

6/8/7/6/6/5/3/2

14th

94

24

+12/7

+10/5

+11/+4/+15

34/5

6/8/8/6/6/5/5/3

15th
16th

101
107

24
26

+13/8/3
+14/9/4

+11/6/1
+12/7/2

+11/+5/+15
+12/+5/+16

36/6
38/6

6/8/8/7/6/6/5/3/2
6/8/8/7/6/6/5/4/3

17th

114

26

+14/9/4

+12/7/2

+12/+5/+17

40/6

6/8/8/8/7/6/6/5/3/2

18th
120
26
+15/10/5 +13/8/3
+13/+6/+18
42/7
6/8/8/8/7/6/6/5/4/3
19th
127
26
+16/11/6 +14/9/4
+13/+6/+18
44/7
6/8/8/8/7/7/6/6/4/4
20th
133
26
+17/12/7 +15/10/5 +14/+6/+20
46/7
6/8/8/8/8/7/6/6/6/5
*Includes domain spells. You must choose one spell per spell level from the appropriate domains.

Gear
Splint mail, heavy steel shield, mwk melee,
mundane ranged, 300 gp
Half-plate, heavy steel shield, mwk melee,
mundane ranged, 1,000 gp
Full plate, heavy steel shield, mwk melee,
mundane ranged, 600 gp
As 3rd level, except 1,400 gp
As 3rd level, except 2,500 gp
+1 full plate, heavy steel shield, mwk melee,
mundane ranged, 3,600 gp
As 6th level, except 4,200 gp
+1 full plate, +1 heavy steel shield, mwk
melee, mundane ranged, 6,200 gp
+1 full plate, +1 heavy steel shield, ring of
protection +1, mwk melee, mundane ranged,
7,000 gp
+1 full plate, +1 heavy steel shield, ring +1,
mwk melee, mundane ranged, periapt of
Wisdom +2, 11,500 gp
As 10th level, except 20,000 gp
+1 full plate, +1 heavy steel shield, amulet of
natural armor +1, ring +1, +1 melee, mundane
ranged, periapt +2, 14,000 gp
+1 full plate, +1 heavy steel shield, amulet +1,
ring +1, +1 melee, mundane ranged, gloves of
Dexterity +2, periapt +2, 18,000 gp
+1 full plate, +1 heavy steel shield, amulet +1,
ring o+1, +1 melee, mundane ranged, gloves
+2, periapt +4, 16,000 gp
As 14th level, except 30,000 gp
+2 full plate, +2 heavy steel shield, amulet +1,
ring +1, +1 melee, mundane ranged, gloves
+2, periapt +4, 41,000 gp
+2 full plate, +2 heavy steel shield, amulet +1,
ring +1, +1 melee, mundane ranged, gloves
+2, periapt +6, 44,000 gp
As 17th level, except 74,000 gp
As 17th level, except 114,000 gp
As 17th level, except 164,000 gp

115

NONPLAYER
CHARACTERS

CHAPTER 4:

Table 4–15: NPC Druid

116

Level
1st

hp
9

AC
17

Melee
+1

Ranged
+3

F/R/W
+3/+2/+4

Skill Pts./
Feats
20/1

Spells
per Day
3/2

2nd
3rd
4th
5th
6th

14
20
25
31
36

17
17
17
17
18

+2
+3
+4
+4
+5

+4
+5
+6
+6
+7

+4/+2/+5
+4/+3/+5
+5/+3/+7
+5/+3/+7
+6/+4/+8

25/1
30/2
35/2
40/2
45/3

4/3
4/3/2
5/4/3
5/4/3/2
5/4/4/3

7th
8th

42
47

18
19

+6
+7/2

+8
+9/4

+6/+4/+8
+7/+4/+9

50/3
55/3

6/5/4/3/1
6/5/4/4/2

9th
10th

53
58

20
21

+7/2
+8/3

+9/4
+10/5

+7/+5/+9
+8/+5/+10

60/4
65/4

6/5/5/4/2/1
6/5/5/4/3/2

11th

64

21

+9/4

+11/6

+8/+5/+11

70/4

6/6/5/5/4/2/1

12th

69

21

+10/5

+12/7

+9/+6/+13

75/5

6/7/5/5/4/4/2

13th

75

22

+10/5

+12/7

+9/+6/+13

80/5

6/7/6/5/5/4/2/1

14th

80

22

+11/6

+13/8

+10/+6/+15

85/5

6/7/7/5/5/4/4/2

15th

86

23

+12/7/2

+14/9

+10/+7/+15

90/6

6/7/7/6/5/5/4/2/1

16th

91

24

+14/9/4

+15/10

+11/+7/+16

95/6

6/7/7/6/5/5/4/3/2

17th

97

25

+14/9/4

+15/10

+11/+7/+17

100/6

6/7/7/7/6/5/5/4/2/1

18th

102

28

+15/10/5

+16/11

+12/+8/+18

105/7

6/7/7/7/6/5/5/4/3/2

19th
20th

108
113

28
28

+16/11/6
+17/12/7

+17/12
+18/13

+12/+8/+18
+13/+8/+20

110/7
115/7

6/7/7/7/6/6/5/5/3/3
6/7/7/7/7/6/5/5/5/4

+3, Jump +7, Knowledge (nature) +8, Spellcraft +4, Swim +9, Survival +9; Multiattack (see page 304 of the Monster Manual), Scribe
Scroll, Track.
Animal Companion (Ex): This druid has a crocodile as an animal
companion. This creature is a loyal companion that accompanies
the druid on adventures as appropriate for its kind. Its abilities and
characteristics are summarized below.
Crocodile Animal Companion: CR —; Medium magical beast; HD 3d8+9; hp 22; Init +1, Spd 20 ft., swim 30 ft.;
AC 15, touch 11, flat-footed 14; Base Atk +2; Grp +6; Atk +6
melee (1d8+6, bite), or +6 melee (tail slap, 1d12+6); Full
Atk +6 melee (1d8+6, bite), or +6 melee (tail slap, 1d12+6);
Space/Reach 5 ft./5 ft.; SA improved grab; SQ bonus trick,
hold breath, low-light vision; AL N; SV Fort +6, Ref +4,
Will +2; Str 19, Dex 13, Con 17, Int 1, Wis 12, Cha 2.
Skills and Feats: Hide +7, Listen +4, Spot +4, Swim +12;
Alertness, Skill Focus (Hide).
Improved Grab (Ex): To use this ability, a crocodile must
hit with its bite attack. If it wins the grapple check, the
crocodile grabs the opponent with its mouth and drags it
into deep water, attempting to pin it to the bottom.

Gear
Hide armor, heavy wooden shield, mwk
melee, mwk ranged, 250 gp
As 1st level, except 1,350 gp
As 1st level, except 1,800 gp
As 1st level, except 2,600 gp
As 1st level, except 3,000 gp
+1 hide armor, heavy wooden shield, mwk
melee, mwk ranged, 3,400 gp
As 6th level, except 5,000 gp
+1 hide armor, +1 heavy wooden shield, ring of
protection +1, mwk melee, mwk ranged,
3,400 gp
As 8th level, except 6,000 gp
+1 hide armor, +1 heavy wooden shield, amulet
of natural armor +1, ring +1, mwk melee,
mwk ranged, 8,000 gp
+1 hide armor, +1 heavy wooden shield, amulet
+1, ring +1, mwk melee, mwk ranged, periapt
of Wisdom +2, 9,000 gp
+1 hide armor, +1 heavy wooden shield, amulet
+1, ring +1, +1 melee, mwk ranged, periapt
+2, 6,500 gp
+2 hide armor, +1 heavy wooden shield, amulet
+1, ring +1, +1 melee, mwk ranged, periapt
+2, 19,500 gp
+2 hide armor, +1 heavy wooden shield, amulet
+1, ring +1, +1 melee, mwk ranged, periapt
+4, 17,500 gp
+2 hide armor, +1 heavy wooden shield, amulet
+2, ring +1, +1 melee, mwk ranged, periapt
+4, 29,500 gp
+2 hide armor, +1 heavy wooden shield, amulet
+2, ring +2, +2 melee, mwk ranged, periapt
+4, 31,000 gp
+2 hide armor, +2 heavy wooden shield, amulet
+2, ring +2, +2 melee, mwk ranged, periapt
+6, 41,000 gp
+3 hide armor, +4 heavy wooden shield, amulet
+2, ring +2, +2 melee, mwk ranged, periapt
+6, 54,000 gp
As 18th level, except 94,000 gp
As 18th level, except 144,000 gp

Bonus Trick: This animal companion is capable of learning one trick in addition to any that the druid might
choose to teach it (see the Handle Animal skill, page 74 of
the Player’s Handbook). This bonus trick doesn’t require any
training time or Handle Animal checks, and it doesn’t
count against the normal limit of tricks known by the
creature. The druid selects this bonus trick, and once
selected, it can’t be changed.
Hold Breath (Ex): This creature can hold its breath for 68
rounds before it risks drowning.
Low-Light Vision (Ex): Can see twice as far as a human in
dim light.
Hold Breath (Ex): Lizardfolk can hold their breath for 60 rounds
before they risk drowning.
Link with Companion (Ex): This druid can handle its animal companion as a free action, or push it as a move action, with a +4 bonus
on wild empathy and Handle Animal checks made while dealing
with that animal.
Nature Sense (Ex): This druid gains a +2 bonus on Knowledge
(nature) and Survival checks (these bonuses are included in the
statistics given above).

Starting Ability Scores: Str 15, Dex 13, Con 14, Int 10, Wis 12,
Cha 8.
Increased Ability Scores: 4th, Str 16; 8th, Str 17; 12th, Str 18;

Sample 5th-Level NPC Fighter: Hobgoblin Ftr 5; CR 5;
Medium humanoid (goblinoid); HD 5d10+15; hp 47; Init +6; Spd
20 ft.; AC 21, touch 11, flat-footed 20; Base Atk +5; Grp +8; Atk +10
melee (1d10+5/19–20, masterwork bastard sword) or +8 ranged
(1d8+3/×3, masterwork composite longbow [+3 Str bonus]); Full
Atk +10 melee (1d10+5/19–20, masterwork bastard sword) or +8
ranged (1d8+3/×3, masterwork composite longbow [+3 Str
bonus]); SA —; SQ darkvision 60 ft.; AL LE; SV Fort +8, Ref +4,
Will +3; Str 16, Dex 15, Con 16, Int 10, Wis 12, Cha 8.
Skills and Feats: Climb +1, Jump +3, Move Silently –1; Exotic
Weapon Proficiency (bastard sword), Improved Initiative, Power
Attack, Weapon Focus (bastard sword), Weapon Specialization
(bastard sword).
Possessions: Full plate, heavy steel shield, masterwork bastard
sword, masterwork composite longbow (+3 Str bonus), 10 normal
arrows, 10 cold iron arrows, 10 silvered arrows, cloak of resistance +1,
potion of bear’s endurance, potion of cure moderate wounds.

CHAPTER 4:

NPC FIGHTER

16th, Str 19; 17th, Str 19 (21); 19th, Str 19 (25), Con 14 (16); 20th,
Str 20 (26).

NONPLAYER
CHARACTERS

Resist Nature’s Lure (Ex): This druid gains a +4 bonus on saving
throws against the spell-like abilities of fey.
Share Spells (Ex): This druid may have any spell it casts on itself
also affect its animal companion if the latter is within 5 feet at the
time. The druid may also cast a spell with a target of “You” on its
animal companion.
Trackless Step (Ex): This druid leaves no trail in natural surroundings and cannot be tracked.
Wild Empathy (Ex): This druid can improve the attitude of an
animal in the same way as a Diplomacy check for sentient beings.
The druid rolls 1d20+10, or 1d20+6 if attempting to influence
magical beasts with an Intelligence score of 1 or 2.
Wild Shape (Su): This druid can change into a Small or Medium
animal and back again once per day, as per the polymorph spell.
Woodland Stride (Ex): This druid may move through natural
thorns, briars, overgrown areas, and similar terrain at its normal
speed and without damage or other impairment. However, thorns,
briars, and overgrown areas that are magically manipulated to
impede motion still affect the druid.
Druid Spells Prepared (5/4/3/2; save DC 13 + spell level): 0—detect
magic, detect poison, guidance, light, purify food and drink; 1st—
entangle, magic fang (2), obscuring mist; 2nd—barkskin, flame blade,
resist energy; 3rd—call lightning, protection from energy.
Possessions: Heavy wooden shield, masterwork scimitar, masterwork sling, 10 bullets, 2 scrolls of cure moderate wounds, 2 scrolls of
neutralize poison, 2 scrolls of speak with plants, phylactery of faithfulness, 2 Quaal’s feather tokens (tree), wand of cure light wounds.

Sample 15th-Level NPC Fighter: Hobgoblin Ftr 15; CR 15;
Medium humanoid (goblinoid); HD 15d10+45; hp 132; Init +6;
Spd 20 ft.; AC 28, touch 12, flat-footed 27; Base Atk +15; Grp +19;
Atk +23 melee (1d10+9/17–20, +3 bastard sword) or +19 ranged
(1d8+7/19–20/×3, +1 composite longbow [+4 Str bonus]); Full Atk
+23/+18/+13 melee (1d10+9/17–20, +3 bastard sword) or
+19/+14/+9 ranged (1d8+7/19–20/×3, +1 composite longbow [+4 Str
bonus]); SA —; SQ darkvision 60 ft.; AL LE; SV Fort +14, Ref +9,
Will +8; Str 18, Dex 15, Con 16, Int 10, Wis 12, Cha 8.
Skills and Feats: Climb +10, Intimidate +5, Jump +8, Move Silently
+1; Cleave, Dodge, Exotic Weapon Proficiency (bastard sword),

Table 4–16: NPC Fighter
Level
1st

hp
12

AC
18

Melee
+4

Ranged
+2

F/R/W
+4/+1/+1

2nd
3rd
4th
5th
6th

19
27
34
42
49

19
21
21
21
22

+5
+6
+8
+9
+10/5

+4
+5
+6
+7
+8/3

+5/+1/+1
+5/+2/+2
+6/+2/+2
+6/+2/+2
+7/+3/+3

7th
8th
9th
10th
11th

57
64
72
79
87

22
23
23
24
25

+11/6
+12/7
+13/8
+14/11
+15/10/5

+9/4
+10/5
+11/6
+12/7
+13/8/3

+7/+3/+3
+8/+3/+3
+8/+4/+4
+9/+4/+4
+9/+4/+4

12th

94

25

+18/13/8

+14/10/4

+10/+5/+5

13th
14th

102
109

25
27

+19/14/9
+20/15/10

+15/10/5
+16/11/6

+10/+5/+5
+11/+5/+5

15th

117

28

+22/17/12

+17/12/7

+11/+6/+6

16th

124

30

+23/18/13/8

+19/14/9/4

+12/+6/+6

17th

132

31

+25/20/15/10

+20/15/10/5 +12/+6/+6

18th

139

32

+27/22/17/12

+21/16/11/6 +13/+7/+7

19th

166

32

+30/25/20/15

+22/17/12/7 +14/+7/+7

20th

175

34

+32/27/22/17

+23/18/13/8 +15/+7/+7

Skill Pts./
Feats
Gear
8/2
Splint mail, heavy steel shield, mwk melee, mundane ranged,
350 gp
10/3
Half-plate, heavy steel shield, mwk melee, mwk ranged, 750 gp
12/4
Full plate, heavy steel shield, mwk melee, mwk ranged, 350 gp
14/5
As 3rd level, except 1,150 gp
16/5
As 3rd level, except 2,150 gp
18/7
+1 full plate, heavy steel shield, mwk melee, mwk ranged,
2,300 gp
20/7
+1 full plate, heavy steel shield, +1 melee, mwk ranged, 2,900 gp
22/8
+1 full plate, +1 heavy steel shield, +1 melee, mwk ranged, 4,900 gp
24/9
+1 full plate, +1 heavy steel shield, +1 melee, +1 ranged, 4,500 gp
26/10
+2 full plate, +1 heavy steel shield, +1 melee, +1 ranged, 5,500 gp
28/10
+2 full plate, +1 heavy steel shield, ring of protection +1, +1 melee,
+1 ranged, 8,500 gp
30/12
+2 full plate, +1 heavy steel shield, ring of protection +1, +2 melee,
+1 ranged, 9,500 gp
32/12
As 12th level, except 18,500 gp
34/13
+2 full plate, +1 heavy steel shield, amulet of natural armor +2, ring
+1, +2 melee, +1 ranged, 20,500 gp
36/14
+2 full plate, +2 heavy steel shield, amulet +2, ring +1, +3 melee,
+1 ranged, 21,500 gp
38/15
+2 full plate, +3 heavy steel shield, amulet +2, ring +2, +3 melee,
+2 ranged, 27,500 gp
40/15
+3 full plate, +3 heavy steel shield, amulet +2, ring +2, +3 melee,
+2 ranged, 47,500 gp
42/17
+4 full plate, +3 heavy steel shield, amulet +2, ring +2, +4 melee,
+2 ranged, 56,500 gp
44/17
+4 full plate, +3 heavy steel shield, amulet +2, ring +2, +4 melee,
+2 ranged, belt of giant Strength +6, pink Ioun stone, 52,500 gp
46/18
+4 full plate, +3 heavy steel shield, amulet +2, ring +4, +4 melee,
+2 ranged, belt +6, pink Ioun stone, 78,500 gp

117

NONPLAYER
CHARACTERS

CHAPTER 4:

Great Cleave, Improved Critical (bastard sword), Improved Critical
(composite longbow), Improved Initiative, Point Blank Shot,
Power Attack, Precise Shot, Weapon Focus (bastard sword),
Weapon Focus (composite longbow), Weapon Specialization (bastard sword), Weapon Specialization (composite longbow).
Possessions: +2 full plate, +2 heavy steel shield, amulet of natural armor
+2, ring of protection +1, +3 bastard sword, +1 composite longbow (+4 Str
bonus), 15 normal arrows, 5 adamantine arrows, 5 cold iron
arrows, 10 silvered arrows, 15 +2 arrows, quiver of Ehlonna, boots of
speed, cloak of resistance +2, potion of bear’s endurance, potion of cure moderate wounds, potion of heroism.

NPC MONK
Starting Ability Scores: Str 14, Dex 13, Con 12, Int 10, Wis 15,
Cha 8.
Increased Ability Scores: 4th, Dex 14; 8th, Wis 16; 12th, Dex 15;
15th, Dex 15 (17), Wis 16 (18); 16th, Dex 16 (18); 19th, Str 14 (16),
Con 12 (14), Dex 16 (20), Wis 16 (20); 20th, Dex 16 (22), Wis 17 (23).
Sample 5th-Level NPC Monk: Human Mnk 5; CR 5; Medium
humanoid; HD 5d8+5; hp 31; Init +2; Spd 40 ft.; AC 16, touch 15,
flat-footed 14; Base Atk +3; Grp +5; Atk +5 or +7 melee (1d8+2,
unarmed strike or 1d6+3, +1 kama); or +6 ranged (1d6, masterwork
sling); Full Atk +5 or +7 melee (1d8+2, unarmed strike or 1d6+3, +1
kama); or +4/+4 or +6/+6 melee (1d8+2, unarmed strike or 1d6+3,
+1 kama); or +6 ranged (1d6, masterwork sling); SA flurry of blows,
ki strike +1; SQ evasion, purity of body, slow fall 20 ft., still mind;
AL LN; SV Fort +6, Ref +7, Will +7; Str 14, Dex 14, Con 12, Int 10,
Wis 15, Cha 8.
Skills and Feats: Balance +12, Climb +10, Hide +10, Jump +12,
Tumble +12; Deflect Arrows, Dodge, Mobility, Stunning Fist,
Weapon Focus (kama).
Flurry of Blows (Ex): This monk may use a full attack action to make
one extra attack per round with an unarmed strike or a special monk
weapon at her highest base attack, but this attack and each other
attack made that round take a –1 penalty apiece. This penalty applies
for 1 round, so it affects attacks of opportunity the monk might make
before her next action. If armed with a kama, nunchaku, or siangham,
the monk makes the extra attack either with that weapon or
unarmed. If armed with two such weapons, she uses one for her regular attack(s) and the other for the extra attack. In any case, her
damage bonus on the attack with her off hand is not reduced.
Ki Strike (Su): This monk’s unarmed strike can deal damage to a
creature with damage reduction as if the blow were made with a
lawful weapon having a +1 enhancement bonus.
Evasion (Ex): If this monk makes a successful Reflex saving
throw against an attack that normally deals half damage on a successful save, she instead takes no damage.
Purity of Body (Ex): This monk has immunity to all diseases except for magical diseases such as mummy rot and lycanthropy.
Slow Fall (Ex): A monk within arm’s reach of a wall can use it to
slow her descent while falling. This monk takes damage as if the
fall were 20 feet shorter than it actually is.
Still Mind (Ex): This monk gains a +2 bonus on saving throws
against spells and effects from the enchantment school.
Possessions: +1 kama, masterwork sling, cloak of resistance +1, potion
of cat’s grace, potion of cure moderate wounds.

118

Sample 15th-Level NPC Monk: Human Mnk 15; CR 15;
Medium humanoid; HD 15d8+15; hp 86; Init +7; Spd 80 ft.; AC 25,
touch 21, flat-footed 22; Base Atk +11; Grp +13; Atk +13 or +17
melee (2d6+2/19–20, unarmed strike or 1d6+5/19–20, +3 kama); or
+16 ranged (1d6+2/0, +2 sling); Full Atk +13/+8/+3 or +17/+12/+7
melee (2d6+2/19–20, unarmed strike or 1d6+5/19–20, +3 kama);
or +13/+13/+13/+8/+3 or +17/+17/+17/+12/+7 melee (2d6+2/
19–20, unarmed strike or 1d6+5/19–20, +3 kama); or +16 ranged
(1d6+2/0, +2 sling); SA flurry of blows, ki strike +4, quivering palm;

SQ abundant step, diamond body, diamond soul, improved evasion,
purity of body, slow fall 70 ft., still mind, wholeness of body; AL
LN; SV Fort +10, Ref +12, Will +13; Str 14, Dex 17, Con 12, Int 10,
Wis 18, Cha 8.
Skills and Feats: Balance +23, Climb +20, Hide +21, Jump +22,
Tumble +23; Combat Reflexes, Dodge, Improved Critical (unarmed strike), Improved Critical (kama), Improved Disarm, Improved Grapple, Improved Initiative, Iron Will, Mobility, Spring
Attack, Weapon Focus (kama).
Flurry of Blows (Ex): This monk may use a full attack action to
make two extra attacks per round with an unarmed strike or a special monk weapon at her highest base attack.
Ki Strike (Su): This monk’s unarmed strike can deal damage to a
creature with damage reduction as if the blow were made with a
lawful weapon with a +1 enhancement bonus.
Quivering Palm (Su): Once per week, this monk can use an unarmed strike to set up potentially fatal vibrations within the body of
another creature. The monk must have more levels than the target
has Hit Dice. If the target takes damage from the monk’s blow, the
quivering palm attack succeeds. At any later time within 15 days,
the monk can will the target to die (a free action) unless the target
makes a DC 21 Fortitude save. If the save is successful, the target is
no longer in danger from that particular quivering palm attack.
Abundant Step (Sp): This monk can slip magically between spaces,
as per the spell dimension door, once per day as a 7th-level caster.
Diamond Body (Su): This monk has immunity to poison of all
kinds.
Diamond Soul (Ex): This monk has spell resistance 25.
Improved Evasion (Ex): If this monk makes a successful Reflex
saving throw against an attack that normally deals half damage on
a successful save, she instead takes no damage. In addition, she
takes only half damage on a failed save.
Slow Fall (Ex): A monk within arm’s reach of a wall can use it to
slow her descent while falling. This monk takes damage as if the
fall were 70 feet shorter than it actually is.
Wholeness of Body (Su): This monk can cure up to 30 hit points of
her own wounds each day, and she can spread this healing out over
several uses.
Possessions: Amulet of natural armor +1, bracers of armor +3, ring of
protection +1, +3 kama, +2 sling, gloves of Dexterity +2, monk’s belt, periapt of Wisdom +2, potion of heroism.

NPC PALADIN
Starting Ability Scores: Str 14, Dex 8, Con 12, Int 10, Wis 13,
Cha 15.
Increased Ability Scores: 4th, Wis 14; 8th, Cha 16; 12th, Cha
17 (19); 16th, Cha 18 (20); 19th, Cha 18 (24); 20th, Cha 19 (25).
Sample 5th-Level NPC Paladin: Human Pal 5; CR 5; Medium
humanoid; HD 5d10+5; hp 37; Init –1; Spd 20 ft.; AC 19, touch 9,
flat-footed 19; Base Atk +5; Grp +7; Atk +9 melee (1d8+2/19–20,
masterwork longsword) or +5 ranged (1d8+2/×3, masterwork
composite longbow [+2 Str bonus]); Full Atk +9 melee (1d8+2/
19–20, masterwork longsword) or +5 ranged (1d8+2/×3, masterwork composite longbow [+2 Str bonus]); SA smite evil 2/day,
turn undead 5/day; SQ aura of courage, detect evil, divine grace,
divine health, empathic link with mount, heavy warhorse mount,
lay on hands, share spells with mount; AL LG; SV Fort +7, Ref +2,
Will +5; Str 14, Dex 8, Con 12, Int 10, Wis 14, Cha 15.
Skills and Feats: Concentration +9, Heal +10, Ride +7; Mounted
Combat, Ride-By Attack, Weapon Focus (longsword).
Smite Evil (Su): Twice per day this paladin may attempt to smite
evil with one normal melee attack. She adds +2 to her attack roll
and deals 5 extra points of damage. Smiting a creature that is not
evil has no effect but uses the ability for that day.
Turn Undead (Su): As a 2nd-level cleric.
Aura of Courage (Su): This paladin is immune to fear, magical or

Table 4–17: NPC Monk
AC
13
13
13
14
16
16

Unarmed
Strike
+2
+3
+4
+5
+5
+6

Flurry of Blows
(Unarmed)
+0/0
+1/1
+2/2
+3/3
+4/4
+5/5

Melee
+3
+4
+6
+6
+6
+7

Ranged
+1
+3
+4
+6
+6
+7

F/R/W
+3/+3/+4
+4/+4/+5
+4/+4/+5
+5/+6/+6
+5/+6/+6
+7/+8/+8

Skill Pts./
Feats
16/21
20/42
24/5
28/5
32/5
36/73

7th

42

17

+7

+6/6

+8

+8

+7/+8/+8

40/7

8th

47

19

+8/3

+7/7

+9/4

+9/4

+8/+9/+10

44/7

9th

53

19

+8/3

+7/7

+9/4

+9/4

+8/+9/+10

48/8

10th

58

20

+9/4

+9/9/9

+11/6

+10/5

+8/+9/+10

52/8

11th

64

21

+10/5

+10/10/5

+12/7

+11/6

+8/+9/+10

56/8

12th

69

21

+11/6

+11/11/11/6

+13/8

+13/8

+9/+10/+11

60/9

13th

75

21

+11/6

+11/11/11/6

+13/8

+13/8

+9/+10/+11

64/9

14th

80

21

+12/7

+12/12/12/7

+15/10

+14/9

+10/+11/+12

68/9

15th

86

25

+13/8/3

+13/13/13/8/3

+16/11/6

+16/11/6

+10/+12/+13

72/10

16th
17th

91
97

26
27

+14/9/4
+14/9/4

+14/14/14/9/4
+14/14/14/9/4

+17/12/7
+18/13/8

+18/13/8
+18/13/8

+11/+14/+14
+11/+14/+14

76/10
80/10

18th

102

28

+15/10/5

+15/15/15/10/5

+20/15/10

+19/14/9

+12/+15/+15

84/11

19th

127

30

+17/12/7

+17/17/17/12/7

+22/17/12

+21/16/11 +13/+16/+16

88/11

20th

133

34

+18/13/8

+18/18/18/13/8

+23/18/13

+23/18/13 +14/+18/+18

92/11

Gear
Mwk melee, mundane ranged, 550 gp
As 1st level, except 1,650 gp
+1 melee, mwk ranged
As 3rd level, plus 650 gp
As 3rd level, plus 1,650 gp
Bracers of armor +1, +1 melee, mwk
ranged, 2,000 gp
Bracers +1, ring of protection +1,
+1 melee, mwk ranged, 1,500 gp
Amulet of natural armor +1, bracers
+1, ring +1, +1 melee, mwk ranged,
1,750 gp
As 8th level, except +1 ranged and
2,300 gp
Amulet +1, bracers +1, ring +1,
+2 melee, +1 ranged, 350 gp
As 10th level, except bracers +2 and
2,300 gp
As 10th level, except bracers +2,
+2 ranged, and 2,300 gp
As 10th level, except bracers +2,
+2 ranged, and 10,000 gp
Amulet +1, bracers +2, ring +1,
+3 melee, +2 ranged, 10,000 gp
Amulet +1, bracers +3, ring +1, +3
melee, +2 ranged, gloves of Dexterity
+2, periapt of Wisdom +2, 11,000 gp
As 15th level, except 29,000 gp
Amulet +1, bracers +3, ring +2,
+4 melee, +2 ranged, gloves +2,
periapt +2, 9,000 gp
As 17th level, except amulet +2,
+5 melee, and 38,000 gp
Amulet +2, bracers +3, ring +2,
+5 melee, +2 ranged, gloves +4,
periapt +4, pale blue ioun stone, pink
ioun stone, 36,000 gp
As 19th level, except bracers +4,
gloves +6, periapt +6, and 36,000 gp

CHAPTER 4:

hp
9
14
20
25
31
36

NONPLAYER
CHARACTERS

Level
1st
2nd
3rd
4th
5th
6th

1 Bonus Feat: either Improved Grapple or Stunning Fist.
2 Bonus Feat: either Combat Reflexes or Deflect Arrows.
3 Bonus Feat: either Improved Disarm or Improved Trip.

otherwise. Allies within 10 feet of her gain a +4 morale bonus on
saving throws against fear effects.
Detect Evil (Sp): This paladin can detect evil at will as the spell.
Divine Grace (Su): This paladin applies her Charisma bonus on
all saving throws. (This modifier is already figured into the statistics given above.)
Divine Health (Ex): This paladin is immune to all diseases,
including magical diseases such as mummy rot and lycanthropy.
Empathic Link (Su): This paladin can communicate telepathically with her mount at a distance of up to 1 mile. The paladin has
the same connection to an item or a place that the mount does.
Heavy Warhorse Mount: For as much as 10 hours per day, this paladin can call upon the services of a special heavy warhorse mount.
The creature’s abilities and characteristics are summarized below.
Heavy Warhorse: Large magical beast; HD 6d8+12; hp
39; Init +1; Spd 50 ft.; AC 18, touch 10, flat-footed 17; Base
Atk +3; Grp +11; Atk +6 melee (1d6+4, hoof ); Full Atk
+6/+6 melee (1d6+4, 2 hooves) and +1 melee (1d4+2, bite);
Space/Reach 10 ft./5 ft.; SQ improved evasion, low-light
vision, scent; SV Fort +7, Ref +5, Will +2; Str 19, Dex 13,
Con 17, Int 6, Wis 13, Cha 6.

Skills and Feats: Listen +5, Spot +4; Endurance, Run.
Improved Evasion (Ex): When subjected to an attack that
normally allows a Reflex saving throw for half damage,
this mount takes no damage if it makes a successful saving
throw and half damage if the saving throw fails.
Low-Light Vision (Ex): Can see twice as far as a human in
dim light.
Scent (Ex): Can detect approaching enemies, sniff out
hidden foes, and track by sense of smell.
Lay on Hands (Su): This paladin can heal wounds by touch as a
standard action. Each day she can cure 10 hit points. The paladin
can cure herself and can divide the curing among multiple recipients. She doesn’t have to use it all at once. Alternatively, the paladin can use some or all of these points to deal damage to undead
creatures as a touch attack.
Share Spells (Ex): This paladin may have any spell she casts on herself also affect her mount if the latter is within 5 feet at the time. The
paladin may also cast a spell with a target of “You” on her mount.
Paladin Spells Prepared (1; save DC 12 + spell level): 1st—bless weapon.
Possessions: Full plate, masterwork heavy steel shield, masterwork longsword, masterwork composite longbow (+2 Str bonus),

119

NONPLAYER
CHARACTERS

CHAPTER 4:

10 normal arrows, 10 cold iron arrows, 10 silvered arrows, 4 potions
of cure light wounds, potion of bear’s endurance, 2 scrolls of magic
weapon, 2 scrolls of protection from evil, bit and bridle (mount),
dagger, 3 flasks holy water, healer’s kit, masterwork scale mail
barding (mount), military saddle (mount), saddlebags (mount),
silver holy symbol.
Sample 15th-Level NPC Paladin: Human Pal 15; CR 1;
Medium humanoid; HD 15d10+15; hp 102; Init –1; Spd 20 ft.; AC
26, touch 10, flat-footed 26; Base Atk +15; Grp +17; Atk +21 melee
(1d8+5/17–20, +3 longsword) or +15 ranged (1d8+3/×3, +1 composite longbow [+2 Str bonus]); Full Atk +21/+16/+11 melee
(1d8+5/17–20, +3 longsword) or +15/+10/+5 ranged (1d8+3/×3, +1
composite longbow [+2 Str bonus]); SA smite evil 4/day, turn
undead 11/day; SQ aura of courage, detect evil, divine grace, divine
health, empathic link with mount, heavy warhorse mount, lay on
hands, remove disease 4/week, share spells with mount; AL LG; SV
Fort +14, Ref +10, Will +13; Str 14, Dex 8, Con 12, Int 10, Wis 14,
Cha 19.
Skills and Feats: Concentration +19, Heal +20, Ride +17; Extra
Turning, Improved Critical (longsword), Iron Will, Lightning
Reflexes, Mounted Combat, Ride-By Attack, Weapon Focus (longsword).

Smite Evil (Su): Four times per day this paladin may attempt to
smite evil with one normal melee attack. She adds +4 to her attack
roll and deals 15 extra points of damage. Smiting a creature that is
not evil has no effect but uses the ability for that day.
Turn Undead (Su): As a 12th-level cleric.
Aura of Courage (Su): This paladin is immune to fear, magical or
otherwise. Allies within 10 feet of her gain a +4 morale bonus on
saving throws against fear effects.
Detect Evil (Sp): This paladin can detect evil at will as the spell.
Divine Grace (Su): This paladin applies her Charisma bonus on
all saving throws. (This modifier is already figured into the statistics given above.)
Divine Health (Ex): This paladin is immune to all diseases,
including magical diseases such as mummy rot and lycanthropy.
Empathic Link (Su): This paladin can communicate telepathically with her mount at a distance of up to 1 mile. The paladin has
the same connection to an item or a place that the mount does.
Heavy Warhorse Mount: Whenever she desires, this paladin can
call upon the services of a special heavy warhorse mount. The creature’s abilities and characteristics are summarized below.
Heavy Warhorse: Large magical beast; HD 12d8+12;
hp 66; Init +1; Spd 60 ft.; AC 24, touch 10, flat-footed 23;
Base Atk +3; Grp +13; Atk +8 melee (1d6+4, hoof ); Full Atk

Table 4–18: NPC Paladin

120

Level
1st

hp
11

AC
17

Melee
+4

Ranged
+0

F/R/W
+3/–1/+1

Skill Pts./
Feats
8/1

Spells
per Day
—

2nd

17

18

+5

+2

+6/+1/+3

10/1

—

3rd

24

18

+6

+3

+6/+2/+4

12/2

—

4th

30

19

+7

+4

+7/+2/+5

14/2

1

5th
6th

37
43

19
19

+8
+9/4

+5
+6/1

+7/+2/+5
+8/+3/+6

16/2
18/3

1
2

7th

50

20

+10/5

+7/2

+8/+3/+6

20/3

2

8th

56

21

+11/6

+8/3

+10/+4/+7

22/3

2/1

9th

63

22

+12/7

+9/4

+10/+5/+8

24/4

2/1

10th
11th
12th

69
76
82

22
22.
23

+13/8
+15/10/5
+16/11/6

+10/5
+11/6/1
+12/7/2

+11/+5/+8
+11/+5/+8
+13/+7/+10

26/4
28/4
30/5

2/2
2/2
2/2/1

13th

89

24

+17/12/7

+13/8/3

+13/+7/+10

32/5

2/2/1

14th
15th

95
102

24
26

+19/14/9
+20/15/10

+14/9/4
+15/10/5

+14/+7/+10
+14/+9/+11

34/5
36/6

3/2/1
3/2/1/1

16th

108

28

+21/16/11/6

+16/11/6/1

+16/+9/+12

38/6

3/3/1/1

17th

115

29

+23/18/13/8

+17/12/7/2

+16/+9/+12

40/6

3/3/2/1

18th

121

30.

+25/20/15/10

+18/13/8/3

+17/+10/+13

42/7

4/3/2/1

19th

128

30

+26/21/16/11

+20/15/10/5

+19/+12/+15

44/7

4/4/3/2

20th

134

30

+27/22/17/12

+21/16/11/6

+20/+12/+15

46/7

4/4/3/3

Gear
Splint mail, heavy steel shield, mwk melee,
mundane ranged, 350 gp
Half-plate, heavy steel shield, mwk melee,
mwk ranged, 650 gp
Mwk half-plate, heavy steel shield, mwk
melee, mwk ranged, 1,100 gp
Full plate, mwk heavy steel shield, mwk
melee, mwk ranged, 1,000 gp
As 4th level, except 3,300 gp
Full plate, mwk heavy steel shield,
+1 melee, mwk ranged, 2,900 gp
+1 full plate, mwk heavy steel shield,
+1 melee, mwk ranged, 1,900 gp
As 7th level, except +1 heavy steel shield and
3,100 gp
+1 full plate, +1 heavy steel shield, ring of
protection +1, +1 melee, mwk ranged,
3,700 gp
As 9th level, except 7,700 gp
As 9th level, except +2 melee and 7,500 gp
+2 full plate, +1 heavy steel shield, ring +1,
+2 melee, mwk ranged, cloak of Charisma
+2, 6,500 gp
+2 full plate, +2 heavy steel shield, ring +1,
+2 melee, +1 ranged, cloak +2, 9,500 gp
As 13th level, except +3 melee weapon
+3 full plate, +3 heavy steel shield, ring +1,
+3 melee, +1 ranged, cloak +2, 13,500 gp
+3 full plate, +3 heavy steel shield, amulet of
natural armor +1, ring +2, +3 melee,
+1 ranged, cloak +2, 23,500 gp
As 16th level, except +4 full plate, +4 melee,
and 25,500 gp
+4 full plate, +4 heavy steel shield, amulet
+1, ring +2, +5 melee, +1 ranged, cloak +2,
30,500 gp
As 18th level, except +2 ranged, cloak +6,
and 44,500 gp
As 18th level, except +2 ranged, cloak +6,
and 94,500 gp

Starting Ability Scores: Str 14, Dex 15, Con 13, Int 10, Wis 12,
Cha 8.
Increased Ability Scores: 4th, Dex 16; 8th, Dex 17; 10th, Dex
17 (19); 12th, Dex 18 (20); 14th, Wis 12 (14); 16th, Str 14 (18); Dex
19 (21); 17th, Dex 19 (23); 20th, Dex 20 (24).
Sample 5th-Level NPC Ranger: Gnoll Rgr 5; CR 6; Medium
humanoid; HD 7d8+14; hp 49; Init +3; Spd 30 ft.; AC 18, touch 13,
flat-footed 15; Base Atk +6; Grp +10; Atk +11 melee (1d8+6/19–20,
masterwork longsword) or +11 ranged (1d8+4/×3, masterwork
composite longbow [+4 Str bonus]); Full Atk +11/+6 melee
(1d8+6/19–20, masterwork longsword) or +11/+6 ranged
(1d8+4/×3, masterwork composite longbow [+4 Str bonus]) or
+9/+9/+4 ranged (1d8+4/×3, masterwork composite longbow [+4
Str bonus]); SA —; SQ animal companion, darkvision 60 ft.,
favored enemy elves +4, favored enemy humans +2, link with
companion, share spells; AL CE; SV Fort +6, Ref +7, Will +2; Str 18,
Dex 16, Con 15, Int 8, Wis 12, Cha 6.
Skills and Feats: Hide +10, Listen +5, Move Silently +10, Spot +11,
Survival +8; Endurance, Power Attack, Quick Draw, Rapid Shot,
Track, Weapon Focus (composite longbow).
Combat Style (Ex): This ranger has selected archery. He gains the
Rapid Shot feat without the normal prerequisites.
Animal Companion (Ex): This ranger has a wolf as an animal
companion. This creature is a loyal companion that accompanies
the ranger on adventures as appropriate for its kind. Its abilities
and characteristics are summarized below.
Wolf Animal Companion: CR —; Medium magical
beast; HD 2d8+4; hp 13; Init +2, Spd 50 ft.; AC 14, touch 12,
flat-footed 12; Base Atk +1; Grp +2; Atk +3 melee (1d6+1,
bite); Full Atk +3 melee (1d6+1, bite); Space/Reach 5 ft./5
ft.; SA trip; SQ bonus trick, evasion, low-light vision, scent;

Sample 15th-Level NPC Ranger: Gnoll Rgr 15; CR 16;
Medium humanoid; HD 17d8+34; hp 114; Init +5; Spd 40 ft.;
AC 23, touch 16, flat-footed 18; Base Atk +16; Grp +20; Atk +23
melee (1d8+8/17–20, +2 longsword) or +24 ranged (1d8+6/×3, +2
composite longbow [+4 Str bonus]); Full Atk +23/+18/+13/+8
melee (1d8+8/17–20, +2 longsword); or +21/+16/+11/+6 melee
(1d8+8/17–20, +2 longsword) and +20/+15/+10 melee
(1d6+3/19–20, +1 short sword); or +24/+19/+14/+9 ranged
(1d8+6/×3, +2 composite longbow [+4 Str bonus]); SA —; SQ
animal companion, camouflage, darkvision 60 ft., evasion,
favored enemy elves +6, favored enemy humans +4, favored
enemy magical beasts +2, favored enemy fey +2, swift tracker,
woodland stride; AL CE; SV Fort +11, Ref +13, Will +7; Str 18,
Dex 21, Con 15, Int 8, Wis 14, Cha 6.
Skills and Feats: Handle Animal +13, Hide +25, Jump +9, Listen
+6, Move Silently +20, Ride +7, Spot +23, Survival +17; Endurance,
Greater Two-Weapon Fighting, Improved Critical (longsword),
Point Blank Shot, Power Attack, Precise Shot, Track, Weapon
Focus (composite longbow) Weapon Focus (short sword).
Combat Style Mastery (Ex): This ranger has selected two-weapon
combat. He gains the Greater Two-Weapon Fighting feat without
the normal prerequisites.

CHAPTER 4:

NPC RANGER

AL N; SV Fort +5, Ref +5, Will +1; Str 13, Dex 15, Con 15,
Int 2, Wis 12, Cha 6.
Skills and Feats: Hide +2, Listen +3, Move Silently +3,
Spot +3, Survival +1; Track, Weapon Focus (bite).
Trip (Ex): A wolf that hits with a bite attack can attempt
to trip the opponent as a free action. See page 158 of the
Player’s Handbook for more information.
Bonus Trick: This animal companion is capable of learning one trick in addition to any that the ranger might
choose to teach it (see the Handle Animal skill, page 74 of
the Player’s Handbook). This bonus trick doesn’t require any
training time or Handle Animal checks, and it doesn’t
count against the normal limit of tricks known by the
creature. The ranger selects this bonus trick, and once
selected, it can’t be changed.
Evasion (Ex): If an animal companion is subjected to an
attack that normally allows a Reflex saving throw for half
damage, it takes no damage if it makes a successful saving
throw.
Low-Light Vision (Ex): Can see twice as far as a human in
dim light.
Scent (Ex): Can detect approaching enemies, sniff out
hidden foes, and track by sense of smell.
Favored Enemy (Ex): This ranger gains the indicated bonus on his
Bluff, Listen, Sense Motive, Spot, and Survival checks when using
these skills against this type of creature. He gets the same bonus
on weapon damage rolls against creatures of this type.
Link with Companion (Ex): This ranger can handle his animal
companion as a free action, or push it as a move action, with a +4
bonus on wild empathy and Handle Animal checks made while
dealing with that animal.
Share Spells (Ex): This ranger may have any spell he casts on himself also affect his animal companion if the latter is within 5 feet at
the time. The ranger may also cast a spell with a target of “You” on
his animal companion.
Wild Empathy (Ex): This ranger can improve the attitude of an
animal in the same way a Diplomacy check can improve the attitude of a sentient being. He rolls 1d20+3, or 1d20–1 if attempting
to influence a magical beast with an Intelligence score of 1 or 2.
Ranger Spells Prepared (1; save DC 12): 1st—entangle.
Possessions: +1 studded leather, masterwork longsword, masterwork composite longbow (+4 Str bonus), 20 normal arrows, 10
cold iron arrows, 10 silvered arrows, eyes of the eagle, 3 potions of cure
light wounds.

NONPLAYER
CHARACTERS

+8/+8 melee (1d6+4, 2 hooves) and +1 melee (1d4+2, bite);
Space/Reach 10 ft./5 ft.; SQ command, low-light vision,
scent, spell resistance 20; SV Fort +7, Ref +5, Will +2; Str
22, Dex 13, Con 17, Int 9, Wis 13, Cha 6.
Skills and Feats: Listen +5, Spot +4; Endurance, Run.
Command (Sp): Usable 7/day against other equines (Will
DC 21 negates).
Improved Evasion (Ex): When subjected to an attack that
normally allows a Reflex saving throw for half damage,
this mount takes no damage if it makes a successful saving
throw and half damage if the saving throw fails.
Low-Light Vision (Ex): Can see twice as far as a human in
dim light.
Scent (Ex): Can detect approaching enemies, sniff out
hidden foes, and track by sense of smell.
Lay on Hands (Su): This paladin can cure 60 hit points of
wounds per day.
Remove Disease (Sp): This paladin can remove disease, as the spell,
four times per week
Paladin Spells Prepared (3/2/1/1; save DC 14 + spell level): 1st—
bless weapon (2), divine favor; 2nd—bull’s strength, shield other; 3rd—
heal mount; 4th—holy sword.
Possessions: +3 full plate, +3 heavy steel shield, ring of protection +1, +3
longsword, +1 composite longbow (+2 Str bonus), 10 normal arrows, 10
+2 arrows, 10 cold iron arrows, 10 silvered arrows, 8 adamantine
arrows, cloak of Charisma +2, bag of holding type II, 2 potions of cure
moderate wounds, 2 potions of cure serious wounds, potion of fly, potion of
owl’s wisdom, potion of tongues, scroll of death ward, 3 scrolls of delay
poison, 2 scrolls of magic weapon, 2 scrolls of remove paralysis, 2
scrolls of resist energy (fire), 2 doses antitoxin, bit and bridle
(mount), dagger, 4 flasks holy water, masterwork banded mail
barding (mount), military saddle (mount), saddlebags (mount),
silver holy symbol.

121

Table 4–19: NPC Ranger

NONPLAYER
CHARACTERS

CHAPTER 4:

Level
1st

122

hp
9

AC
15

Melee1
+3

Ranged2
+4

F/R/W
+3/+4/+1

Skill Pts./
Feats
24/1 + Track

Spells
per Day
—

Gear
Studded leather, mundane melee, mwk
ranged, 550 gp
2nd
15
15
+5
+5
+4/+5/+1
30/1
—
Mwk studded leather, mwk melee, mwk
ranged, 1,200 gp
3rd
20
15
+6
+6
+4/+5/+2 36/2 + Endurance —
As 2nd level, except 1,700 gp
4th
25
17
+7
+8
+5/+7/+2
42/2
1
+1 studded leather, mwk melee, mwk ranged,
1,500 gp
5th
31
17
+8
+9
+5/+7/+2
48/2
1
As 4th level, except 2,500 gp
6th
37
17
+9/4
+10/5
+6/+8/+3
54/3
2
+1 studded leather, +1 melee, mwk ranged,
2,800 gp
7th
42
17
+10/5
+11/6
+6/+8/+3
60/3
2
+1 studded leather, +1 melee , +1 ranged,
1,400 gp
8th
48
17
+11/6
+12/7
+7/+9/+3
66/3
2
As 7th level, except 3,600 gp
9th
53
17
+12/7
+13/8
+7/+9/+4
72/4
2
As 7th level, except 6,200 gp
10th
59
18
+13/8
+15/10
+8/+11/+4
78/4
2/1
+1 studded leather, +1 melee, +1 ranged,
gloves of Dexterity +2, 6,200 gp
11th
64
19
+14/9/4
+16/11/6
+8/+11/+4
84/4
2/1
+2 studded leather, +1 melee, +1 ranged,
gloves +2, 8,200 gp
12th
70
20
+15/10/5
+18/13/8
+9/+13/+5
90/5
2/1
As 11th level, except 15,000 gp
13th
75
22
+16/11/6
+20/15/10
+9/+13/+5
96/5
2/1
+2 studded leather, amulet of natural armor
+1, ring of protection +1, +1 melee, +2
ranged, gloves +2, 12,000 gp
14th
81
22
+18/13/8
+21/16/11
+10/+14/+6
102/5
3/2/1
+2 studded leather, amulet +1, ring +1,
+2 melee, +2 ranged, gloves +2, periapt of
Wisdom +2, 12,000 gp
15th
86
23
+19/14/9
+22/17/12
+10/+14/+7
108/6
3/2/1/1 As 14th level, except +3 studded leather and
21,000 gp
16th
92
23
+22/17/12/7
+23/18/13/8
+11/+15/+7
114/6
3/3/1/1 +3 studded leather, amulet +1, ring +1,
+2 melee, +2 ranged, belt of giant Strength
+4, gloves +2, periapt +2, 19,000 gp
17th
97
24
+23/18/13/8
+25/20/15/10
+11/+16/+7
120/6
3/3/2/1 As 16th level, except gloves +4 and 30,000 gp
18th
103
25
+25/20/15/10 +27/22/17/12
+12/+17/+8
126/7
4/3/2/1 +4 studded leather, amulet +1, ring +1,
+3 melee, +3 ranged, belt +4, gloves +4,
periapt +2, 33,000 gp
19th
108
25
+26/21/16/11 +28/23/18/13
+12/+17/+8
132/7
4/4/3/2 As 18th level, except 73,000 gp
20th
114
25
+28/23/18/13 +31/26/21/16
+13/+19/+8
138/7
4/4/3/3 +4 studded leather, amulet +1, ring +1,
+4 melee, +4 ranged, belt +4, gloves +4,
periapt +2, 95,000 gp
1 If the ranger’s combat style is two-weapon fighting, as a full attack action, she can use a second light melee weapon in combat. Doing so allows
an extra attack with that weapon at the highest attack value, but all attacks that round take a –2 penalty. From 6th–11th level, doing so allows two
extra attacks with the second weapon, once at the highest attack value and once at a –5 penalty. (There’s still a –2 penalty on all attacks.) From
11th level on, doing so allows three extra attacks with the second weapon: once at the highest attack value, once at a –5 penalty, and once at a
–10 penalty. (There’s still a –2 penalty on all attacks.)
2 If the ranger’s combat style is archery, as a full attack action, she can make an extra ranged attack at the highest attack value, but all attacks that
round take a –2 penalty. From 6th–11th level, the ranger may shoot an additional arrow in the same attack (and can shoot an extra time per 5
points of base attack bonus above +6). All attacks that round take a –4 penalty, worsened by –2 for each additional arrow beyond the second.

Animal Companion (Ex): This ranger has a dire wolf as an animal
companion. This creature is a loyal companion that accompanies
the ranger on adventures as appropriate for its kind. Its abilities
and characteristics are summarized below.
Dire Wolf Animal Companion: CR —; Large magical
beast; HD 6d8+18; hp 45; Init +2, Spd 50 ft.; AC 14, touch
11, flat-footed 12; Base Atk +4; Grp +15; Atk +10 melee
(1d8+10, bite); Full Atk +10 melee (1d8+10, bite);
Space/Reach 10 ft./5 ft.; SA trip; SQ bonus trick, low-light
vision, scent; AL N; SV Fort +8, Ref +7, Will +6; Str 26, Dex
16, Con 17, Int 2, Wis 12, Cha 10.
Skills and Feats: Hide +0, Listen +7, Move Silently +4,
Spot +7, Survival +2; Alertness, Run, Track, Weapon Focus
(bite).
Trip (Ex): A wolf that hits with a bite attack can attempt
to trip the opponent as a free action. See page 158 of the
Player’s Handbook for more information.

Bonus Trick: This animal companion is capable of learning one trick in addition to any that the ranger might
choose to teach it (see the Handle Animal skill, page 74 of
the Player’s Handbook). This bonus trick doesn’t require any
training time or Handle Animal checks, and it doesn’t
count against the normal limit of tricks known by the
creature. The ranger selects this bonus trick, and once
selected, it can’t be changed.
Low-Light Vision (Ex): Can see twice as far as a human in
dim light.
Scent (Ex): Can detect approaching enemies, sniff out
hidden foes, and track by sense of smell.
Camouflage (Ex): This ranger can use Hide in terrain that doesn’t
grant cover or concealment.
Swift Tracker (Ex): This ranger can track at normal speed without
taking the usual –5 penalty, or can track at double speed at only a
–10 penalty.

Starting Ability Scores: Str 12, Dex 15, Con 13, Int 14, Wis 10,
Cha 8.
Increased Ability Scores: 4th, Dex 16; 8th, Dex 17; 12th, Dex
18 (20); 16th, Dex 19 (21); 17th, Dex 19 (23); 19th, Dex 19 (25);
20th, Dex 20 (26).
Sample 5th-Level NPC Rogue: Goblin Rog 5; CR 5; Small
humanoid (goblinoid); HD 5d6+5; hp 25; Init +8; Spd 30 ft.; AC 19,
touch 15, flat-footed 19; Base Atk +3; Grp –1; Atk +5 melee
(1d4/19–20, masterwork dagger) or +9 ranged (1d4/×3, masterwork
shortbow); Full Atk +5 melee (1d4/19–20, masterwork dagger) or +9
ranged (1d4/×3, masterwork shortbow); SA sneak attack +3d6; SQ
evasion, trapfinding, trap sense +1, uncanny dodge; AL N; SV Fort
+3, Ref +9, Will +2; Str 10, Dex 18, Con 13, Int 14, Wis 10, Cha 6.
Skills and Feats: Appraise +10, Balance +6, Disable Device +10,
Hide +20, Jump +2, Listen +8, Move Silently +12, Open Lock +12,
Ride (worg) +8, Search +10, Spot +8, Tumble +12, Use Magic
Device +6; Improved Initiative, Shield Proficiency.
Evasion (Ex): If this rogue is exposed to any effect that normally
allows her to attempt a Reflex saving throw for half damage, she
takes no damage with a successful saving throw.
Trap Sense (Ex): This rogue has an intuitive sense that alerts her
to danger from traps, granting a +1 bonus on Reflex saves and a +1
dodge bonus to AC against attacks by traps.
Trapfinding (Ex): This rogue can use the Search skill to locate
traps when the task has a DC higher than 20. Finding a non-

Sample 10th-Level NPC Rogue: Goblin Rog 10; CR 10;
Small humanoid (goblinoid); HD 10d6+10; hp 47; Init +8; Spd
30 ft.; AC 21, touch 16, flat-footed 21; Base Atk +11; Grp +7; Atk
+13 melee (1d4/18–20, Small +1 rapier) or +13 ranged (1d4/×3,
Small +1 shortbow); Full Atk +13/+8 melee (1d4/18–20, Small +1
rapier) or +13/+8 ranged (1d4/×3, Small +1 shortbow); SA sneak
attack +5d6; SQ evasion, improved evasion, improved uncanny
dodge, trapfinding, trap sense +3, uncanny dodge; AL N; SV
Fort +4, Ref +11, Will +3; Str 10, Dex 19, Con 13, Int 14, Wis 10,
Cha 6.
Skills and Feats: Appraise +10, Balance +12, Disable Device +10,
Hide +20, Jump +2, Listen +8, Move Silently +14, Open Lock +12,
Ride (worg) +10, Search +8, Spot +6, Tumble +12, Use Magic
Device +4; Dodge, Improved Initiative, Point Blank Shot,
Weapon Finesse.
Evasion (Ex): If this rogue is exposed to any effect that normally
allows her to attempt a Reflex saving throw for half damage, she
takes no damage with a successful saving throw.
Improved Evasion (Ex): This ability works like evasion, except
that while this rogue still takes no damage on a successful Reflex
save against spells such as fireball or a breath weapon, she now
takes only half damage on a failed save.
Improved Uncanny Dodge (Ex): This rogue cannot be flanked
except by a rogue of at least 14th level.

CHAPTER 4:

NPC ROGUE

magical trap has a DC of at least 20, higher if it is well hidden.
Finding a magic trap has a DC of 25 + the level of the spell used
to create it. Rogues can use the Disable Device skill to disarm
magic traps. Disabling a magic trap generally has a DC of 25 +
the level of the spell used to create it. A rogue who beats a trap’s
DC by 10 or more with a Disable Device check can generally
study a trap, figure out how it works, and bypass it (with her
party) without disarming it.
Uncanny Dodge (Ex): This rogue can react to danger before her
senses would normally allow her to do so. She retains her Dexterity bonus to AC even when caught flat-footed.
Possessions: Masterwork leather armor, masterwork buckler,
masterwork dagger, masterwork shortbow, 10 normal arrows, 5
cold iron arrows, 5 silvered arrows, cloak of resistance +1, 6 potions
of cure light wounds, 2 potions of neutralize poison, masterwork
thieves’ tools.

NONPLAYER
CHARACTERS

Wild Empathy (Ex): This ranger can improve the attitude of an
animal in the same way a Diplomacy check can improve the attitude of a sentient being. He rolls 1d20+17, or 1d20+13 if attempting to influence a magical beast with an Intelligence score of 1 or 2.
Ranger Spells Prepared (3/2/1/1; save DC 12 + spell level): 1st—
delay poison, entangle, resist energy; 2nd—cure light wounds, snare;
3rd—greater magic fang; 4th—tree stride.
Possessions: +3 studded leather, amulet of natural armor +1, ring of protection +1, +2 longsword, +1 short sword, +2 composite longbow (+4 Str
bonus), 12 normal arrows, 5 +3 arrows, 10 cold iron arrows, 15 silvered arrows, 10 adamantine arrows, boots of striding and springing,
cloak of elvenkind, eyes of the eagle, gloves of Dexterity +2, lesser bracers of
archery, periapt of Wisdom +2, quiver of Ehlonna.

Table 4–20: NPC Rogue
Level
1st
2nd
3rd
4th
5th
6th
7th
8th
9th
10th

hp
7
11
16
20
25
29
34
38
43
47

AC
15
15
16
17
17
17
19
19
19
19

Melee
+2
+3
+4
+5
+5
+6
+7
+8/3
+8/3
+9/4

Ranged
+3
+4
+5
+7
+7
+8
+9
+10/5
+10/5
+11/6

F/R/W
+1/+4/+0
+1/+5/+0
+2/+5/+1
+2/+7/+1
+2/+7/+1
+3/+8/+2
+3/+8/+2
+3/+9/+2
+4/+9/+3
+4/+10/+3

Skill Pts./
Feats
40/1
50/1
60/2
70/2
80/2
90/3
100/3
110/3
120/4
130/4

11th
12th

52
56

19
22

+10/5
+11/6

+12/7
+15/10

+4/+10/+3
+5/+13/+4

140/4
150/5

13th
14th
15th
16th
17th
18th
19th
20th

61
65
70
74
79
83
88
92

22
22
22
22
24
24
25
26

+12/7
+13/8
+14/9/4
+15/10/5
+15/10/5
+16/11/6
+18/13/8
+19/14/9

+15/10
+16/11
+17/12/7
+18/13/8
+20/15/10
+21/16/11
+23/18/13
+26/21/16

+5/+13/+4
+5/+14/+4
+6/+14/+5
+6/+15/+5
+6/+16/+5
+7/+17/+6
+7/+18/+6
+7/+20/+6

160/5
170/5
180/6
190/6
200/6
210/7
220/7
230/7

Gear
Mwk studded leather, mwk melee, mwk ranged, 100 gp
As 1st level, except 1,200 gp
Mwk studded leather, mwk buckler, mwk melee, mwk ranged, 1,500 gp
As 3rd level, except 2,300 gp
As 3rd level, except 3,000 gp
As 3rd level, except 4,600 gp
+1 studded leather, +1 buckler, mwk melee, mwk ranged, 4,200 gp
As 7th level, except 6,400 gp
+1 studded leather, +1 buckler, +1 melee, +1 ranged, 5,000 gp
+2 buckler, bracers of armor +2, ring of protection +1, +1 melee, +1 ranged,
1,000 gp
As 10th level, except 6,000 gp
+2 buckler, amulet of natural armor +1, bracers +2, ring +1, +1 melee,
+1 ranged, gloves of Dexterity +2, 6,000 gp
As 12th level, except +2 melee and 8,000 gp
As 12th level, except +2 melee and 18,000 gp
Amulet +1, bracers +4, ring +2, +2 melee, +1 ranged, gloves +2, 18,000 gp
As 15th level, except 36,000 gp
Amulet +1, bracers +5, ring +2, +2 melee, +2 ranged, gloves +4, 32,000 gp
As 17th level, except 62,000 gp
Amulet +1, bracers +5, ring +2, +3 melee, +2 ranged, gloves +6, 72,000 gp
As 19th level, except +3 ranged and 112,000 gp

123

NONPLAYER
CHARACTERS

CHAPTER 4:

Trap Sense (Ex): This rogue has an intuitive sense that alerts her
to danger from traps, granting a +3 bonus on Reflex saves and a +3
dodge bonus to AC against attacks by traps.
Trapfinding (Ex): This rogue can use the Search skill to locate
traps when the task has a DC higher than 20. Finding a nonmagical trap has a DC of at least 20, higher if it is well hidden. Finding a magic trap has a DC of 25 + the level of the spell used to
create it. Rogues can use the Disable Device skill to disarm magic
traps. Disabling a magic trap generally has a DC of 25 + the level
of the spell used to create it. A rogue who beats a trap’s DC by 10
or more with a Disable Device check can generally study a trap,
figure out how it works, and bypass it (with her party) without
disarming it.
Uncanny Dodge (Ex): This rogue can react to danger before her
senses would normally allow her to do so. She retains her Dexterity bonus to AC even when caught flat-footed.
Possessions: +2 buckler, bracers of armor +2, ring of protection +1, Small
+1 rapier, Small +1 shortbow, 20 arrows, 5 silvered arrows, potion of
cure serious wounds, masterwork thieves’ tools.

NPC SORCERER
Starting Ability Scores: Str 8, Dex 14, Con 13, Int 10, Wis 12,
Cha 15.
Increased Ability Scores: 4th, Cha 16; 8th, Cha 17; 12th, Cha
18 (20); 14th, Dex 14 (16); 15th, Cha 18 (22); 16th, Cha 19 (23);
18th, Cha 19 (25); 20th, Cha 20 (26).

124

Sample 5th-Level NPC Sorcerer: Kobold Sor 5; CR 5; Small
humanoid (reptilian); HD 5d4+3; hp 17; Init +6; Spd 30 ft.; AC 15,
touch 13, flat-footed 13; Base Atk +2; Grp –2; Atk +3 melee (1d4/×3,
halfspear) or +6 ranged (1d6/19–20, masterwork light crossbow);
Full Atk +3 melee (1d4/×3, halfspear) or +6 ranged (1d6/19–20,
masterwork light crossbow); SA —; SQ empathic link, light sensitivity, share spells, Tiny viper snake familiar; AL CE; SV Fort +1,
Ref +3, Will +5; Str 10, Dex 14, Con 11, Int 8, Wis 12, Cha 16.
Skills and Feats: Bluff +6, Concentration +4, Craft (trapmaking)
+1, Hide +6, Listen +3, Profession (miner) +3, Search +1, Spellcraft
+3, Spot +3; Alertness, Improved Initiative, Toughness.
Empathic Link (Su): This sorcerer can communicate telepathically with its familiar at a distance of up to 1 mile. The master has
the same connection to an item or a place that the familiar does.
Light Sensitivity (Ex): Kobolds are sensitive to light and take a –1
circumstance penalty on attack rolls in bright sunlight or within
the radius of a daylight spell.
Share Spells (Su): This sorcerer may have any spell he casts on
himself also affect his familiar if the latter is within 5 feet at the
time. The master may also cast a spell with a target of “You” on his
familiar.
Tiny Viper Snake Familiar: This creature grants its master a +3
bonus on Bluff checks. It also grants Alertness as long as it is
within 5 feet. The familiar uses the better of its own and its
master’s base save bonuses. The creature’s abilities and characteristics are summarized below.
Tiny Viper Snake Familiar: CR —; Tiny magical
beast; HD 1; hp 8; Init +3, Spd 15 ft., climb 15 ft., swim 15
ft.; AC 20, touch 15, flat-footed 17; Base Atk +0; Grp –11;
Atk +5 melee (poison, bite); Full Atk +5 melee (poison,
bite); Space/Reach 2-1/2 ft./0 ft.; SA poison; SQ deliver
touch spells, improved evasion, scent, speak with master;
AL CE; SV Fort +2, Ref +5, Will +1; Str 4, Dex 17, Con 11,
Int 8, Wis 12, Cha 2.
Skills and Feats: Balance +11, Climb +11, Hide +15, Listen
+6, Spot +6, Swim +5; Weapon Finesse.
Poison (Ex): Injury, Fortitude DC 11, initial and secondary damage 1d6 Con.
Improved Evasion (Ex): When subjected to an attack that
normally allows a Reflex saving throw for half damage,

this creature takes no damage if it makes a successful
saving throw and half damage if the saving throw fails.
Scent (Ex): Can detect approaching enemies, sniff out
hidden foes, and track by sense of smell.
Sorcerer Spells Known (6/7/5; save DC 13 + spell level): 0—daze,
ghost sound, mage hand, ray of frost, read magic, touch of fatigue; 1st—
cause fear, mage armor, magic missile, sleep; 2nd—blur, flaming sphere.
Possessions: Bracers of armor +1, masterwork halfspear, masterwork light crossbow, 10 bolts, potion of blur, potion of cure moderate
wounds, potion of haste, 2 scrolls of invisibility, 2 scrolls of Melf ’s acid
arrow, 2 scrolls of web, dagger.
Sample 15th-Level NPC Sorcerer: Kobold Sor 15; CR 15;
Small humanoid (reptilian); HD 15d4+3; hp 42; Init +6; Spd 30 ft.;
AC 19, touch 15, flat-footed 17; Base Atk +7; Grp +3; Atk +9 melee
(1d4+1/×3, +1 halfspear) or +11 ranged (1d6/19–20, masterwork
light crossbow); Full Atk +9/+4 melee (1d4+1/×3, +1 halfspear) or
+11 ranged (1d6/19–20, masterwork light crossbow); SA —; SQ
empathic link, light sensitivity, scry on familiar, share spells, Tiny
viper snake familiar; AL CE; SV Fort +5, Ref +7, Will +10; Str 10,
Dex 14, Con 11, Int 8, Wis 12, Cha 22.
Skills and Feats: Bluff +9, Concentration +9, Craft (trapmaking)
+1, Hide +6, Listen +3, Profession (miner) +3, Search +1, Spellcraft
+8, Spot +3; Alertness, Combat Casting, Craft Wand, Dodge,
Improved Initiative, Spell Penetration, Toughness.
Empathic Link (Su): This sorcerer can communicate telepathically with its familiar at a distance of up to 1 mile. The master has
the same connection to an item or a place that the familiar does.
Light Sensitivity (Ex): Kobolds are sensitive to light and take a –1
circumstance penalty on attack rolls in bright sunlight or within
the radius of a daylight spell.
Scry on Familiar (Sp): This sorcerer may scry on its familiar as if
casting the spell scrying once per day.
Share Spells (Su): This sorcerer may have any spell he casts on
himself also affect his familiar if the latter is within 5 feet at the
time. The master may also cast a spell with a target of “You” on his
familiar.
Tiny Viper Snake Familiar: This creature grants its master a +3
bonus on Bluff checks. It also grants Alertness as long as it is
within 5 feet. The familiar uses the better of its own and its
master’s base save bonuses. The creature’s abilities and characteristics are summarized below.
Tiny Viper Snake Familiar: CR —; Tiny magical beast;
HD 15; hp 21; Init +3, Spd 15 ft., climb 15 ft., swim 15 ft.;
AC 25, touch 15, flat-footed 22; Base Atk +0; Grp –11; Atk
+5 melee (poison, bite); Full Atk +5 melee (poison, bite);
Space/Reach 2-1/2 ft./0 ft.; SA poison; SQ deliver touch
spells, improved evasion, scent, speak with master, speak
with other reptiles, spell resistance 20; AL CE; SV Fort +2,
Ref +5, Will +1; Str 4, Dex 17, Con 11, Int 8, Wis 12, Cha 2.
Skills and Feats: Balance +11, Climb +11, Hide +15, Listen
+6, Spot +6, Swim +5; Weapon Finesse.
Poison (Ex): Injury, Fortitude DC 11, initial and secondary damage 1d6 Con.
Improved Evasion (Ex): When subjected to an attack that
normally allows a Reflex saving throw for half damage,
this creature takes no damage if it makes a successful
saving throw and half damage if the saving throw fails.
Scent (Ex): Can detect approaching enemies, sniff out
hidden foes, and track by sense of smell.
Sorcerer Spells Known (6/8/8/7/7/7/7/4; save DC 16 + spell
level): 0—dancing lights, daze, detect magic, ghost sound, mage hand,
ray of frost, read magic, resistance, touch of fatigue; 1st—cause fear, mage
armor, magic missile, obscuring mist, sleep; 2nd—blur, flaming sphere,
invisibility, Melf ’s acid arrow, spectral hand; 3rd—dispel magic, hold
person, lightning bolt, vampiric touch; 4th—ice storm, lesser globe of
invulnerability, shout, stoneskin; 5th—cloudkill, cone of cold, hold mon-

Table 4–21: NPC Sorcerer
AC
12
12
12
13

Melee
–1
+0
+0
+1

Ranged
+3
+4
+4
+5

F/R/W
+1/+2/+3
+1/+2/+4
+2/+3/+4
+2/+3/+5

Skill Pts./
Feats
8/1
10/1
12/2
14/2

Spells
per Day
5/4
6/5
6/6
6/7/4

5th
6th
7th

19
23
26

13
13
14

+1
+2
+2

+5
+6
+6

+2/+3/+5
+3/+4/+6
+3/+4/+6

16/2
18/3
20/3

6/7/5
6/7/6/4
6/7/7/5

8th
9th

30
33

14
15

+3
+3

+7
+7

+3/+4/+7
+4/+5/+7

22/3
24/4

6/7/7/6/3
6/7/7/7/4

10th
11th

37
40

15
16

+4
+4

+8
+8

+4/+5/+8
+4/+5/+8

26/4
28/4

6/7/7/7/5/3
6/7/7/7/6/4

12th

44

17

+5/0

+9/4

+5/+6/+9

30/5

6/8/7/7/7/6/3

13th

47

18

+6 /1

+9/4

+5/+6/+9

32/5

6/8/7/7/7/7/4

14th
15th
16th
17th

51
54
58
61

19
19
19
21

+7/2
+7/2
+8/3
+8/3

+11/6
+11/6
+12/7
+12/7

+5/+7/+10
+6/+8/+10
+6/+8/+11
+6/+8/+11

34/5
36/6
38/6
40/6

6/8/7/7/7/7/5/3
6/8/8/7/7/7/7/4
6/8/8/7/7/7/7/5/3
6/8/8/7/7/7/7/6/4

18th

65

22

+9/4

+13/8

+7/+9/+12

42/7

6/8/8/8/7/7/7/7/5/3

19th
20th

68
72

22
22

+9/4
+10/5

+13/8
+14/9

+7/+9/+12
+7/+9/+13

44/7
46/7

6/8/8/8/7/7/7/7/6/4
6/8/8/8/8/7/7/7/7/6

Gear
Mundane melee, mwk ranged, 550 gp
As 1st level, except 1,650 gp
As 1st level, except 2,150 gp
Bracers of armor +1, mundane melee, mwk
ranged, 950 gp
As 4th level, except 2,000 gp
As 4th level, except 4,300 gp
Bracers +1, ring of protection +1, mundane melee,
mwk ranged, 3,900 gp
As 7th level, except 6,100 gp
Bracers +2, ring +1, mundane melee, mwk
ranged, 5,700 gp
As 9th level, except 9,700 gp
Amulet of natural armor +1, bracers +2, ring +1,
mundane melee, mwk ranged, 12,700 gp
Amulet +1, bracers +2, ring +2, mundane melee,
mwk ranged, cloak of Charisma +2, 9,700 gp
Amulet +1, bracers +3, ring +2, +1 melee, mwk
ranged, cloak +2, 9,300 gp
As 13th level, except 19,000 gp
As 13th level, except cloak +4 and 21,000 gp
As 13th level, except cloak +4 and 39,000 gp
Amulet +2, bracers +4, ring +2, +1 melee, mwk
ranged, cloak +4, 49,000 gp
Amulet +2, bracers +5, ring +2, +1 melee, mwk
ranged, cloak +6, 50,000 gp
As 18th level, except 90,000 gp
As 18th level, except 140,000 gp

CHAPTER 4:

hp
5
8
12
15

NONPLAYER
CHARACTERS

Level
1st
2nd
3rd
4th

Spells Known per Level
Level
1st
5th
9th
13th
17th

Spells
4/2
6/4/2
8/5/4/3/2
9/5/5/4/4/3/2
9/5/5/4/4/4/3/3/2

Level
2nd
6th
10th
14th
18th

Spells
5/2
7/4/2/1
9/5/4/3/2/1
9/5/5/4/4/3/2/1
9/5/5/4/4/4/3/3/2/1

ster, teleport; 6th—acid fog, disintegrate, greater dispel magic; 7th—
ethereal jaunt, prismatic spray.
Possessions: Amulet of natural armor +1, bracers of armor +3, ring of
protection +2, +1 halfspear, masterwork light crossbow, 10 bolts, cloak
of Charisma +4, potion of blur, potion of haste, 2 scrolls of dominate
person, wand of magic missile (9th-level caster, maximized), dagger.

NPC WIZARD
Starting Ability Scores: Str 10, Dex 14, Con 13, Int 15, Wis 12,
Cha 8.
Increased Ability Scores: 4th, Int 16; 8th, Int 17; 12th, Int 18
(20); 14th, Dex 14 (16); 15th, Int 18 (22); 16th, Int 19 (23); 18th, Int
19 (25); 20th, Int 20 (26).
Sample 5th-Level NPC Wizard: Drow Wiz 5; CR 6; Medium
humanoid (elf ); HD 5d4+3; hp 17; Init +3; Spd 30 ft.; AC 14,
touch 13, flat-footed 11; Base Atk +2; Grp +2; Atk +2 melee
(1d6/18–20, rapier) or +6 ranged (1d4/19–20, masterwork hand
crossbow); Full Atk +2 melee (1d6/18–20, rapier) or +6 ranged
(1d4/19–20, masterwork hand crossbow); SA —; SQ drow traits;
AL NE; SV Fort +2, Ref +5, Will +6; Str 10, Dex 16, Con 11, Int 18,
Wis 12, Cha 10.
Skills and Feats: Concentration +8, Craft (alchemy) +9, Knowledge (arcana) +12, Knowledge (dungeoneering) +12, Knowledge
(history) +9, Listen +3, Search +6, Spellcraft +14, Spot +3; Brew
Potion, Combat Casting, Scribe Scroll, Toughness.
Drow Traits: Immune to magic sleep spells and effects; +2 racial

Level
3rd
7th
11th
15th
19th

Spells
5/3
7/5/3/2
9/5/5/4/3/2
9/5/5/4/4/4/3/2
9/5/5/4/4/4/3/3/3/2

Level
4th
8th
12th
16th
20th

Spells
6/3/1
8/5/3/2/1
9/5/5/4/3/2/1
9/5/5/4/4/4/3/2/1
9/5/5/4/4/4/3/3/3/3

bonus on saves against enchantment spells or effects; darkvision
120 ft.; entitled to a Search check when within 5 feet of a secret or
concealed door as though actively looking for it; spell resistance
16; +2 racial bonus on Will saves against spells or spell-like abilities; spell-like abilities (1/day—dancing lights, darkness, and faerie
fire as the spells from a 5th-level caster); light blindness (blinded
for 1 round by abrupt exposure to bright light, –1 circumstance
penalty on all attack rolls, saves, and checks while operating in
bright light); +2 racial bonus on Listen, Spot, and Search checks
(already figured into the statistics given above).
Wizard Spells Prepared (4/4/3/2; save DC 14 + spell level): 0—
daze, detect magic, ghost sound, ray of frost; 1st—mage armor, magic missile (2), magic weapon; 2nd—blur, glitterdust, Melf ’s acid arrow; 3rd—
fireball, haste.
Spellbook: 0—daze, detect magic, detect poison, flare, ghost sound, ray of
frost, read magic; 1st—color spray, identify, mage armor, magic missile,
magic weapon; 2nd—blur, bear’s endurance, glitterdust, knock, Melf ’s
acid arrow, resist energy; 3rd—dispel magic, fireball, haste, magic circle
against good.
Possessions: Bracers of armor +1, rapier, masterwork hand crossbow, 10 bolts, cloak of resistance +1, potion of blur, potion of cure moderate wounds, potion of cure serious wounds, potion of haste, scroll of confusion, 2 scrolls of fireball, scroll of web, dagger.
Sample 10th-Level NPC Wizard: Drow Wiz 10; CR 11;
Medium humanoid (elf ); HD 10d4+3; hp 29; Init +3; Spd 30 ft.; AC
17, touch 14, flat-footed 14; Base Atk +5; Grp +5; Atk +6 melee

125

NONPLAYER
CHARACTERS

CHAPTER 4:

Table 4–22: NPC Wizard

126

Spells
per Day
3/2

+4
+4
+5

Skill Pts./
Feats
16/1 +
Scribe Scroll
+1/+2/+4
20/1
+2/+3/+4
24/2
+2/+3/+5
35/2

+2
+3
+3

+5
+6
+6

+2/+3/+5
+3/+4/+6
+3/+4/+6

40/3
45/4
50/4

4/4/3/2
4/4/4/3
4/5/4/3/1

14
15

+4
+4

+7
+7

+3/+4/+7
+4/+5/+7

55/4
60/5

4/5/4/4/2
4/5/5/4/2/1

37
40

15
16

+5
+5

+8
+8

+4/+5/+8
+4/+5/+8

65/6
70/6

4/5/5/4/3/2
4/5/5/5/3/2/1

12th

44

17

+6/1

+9/4

+5/+6/+9

105/7

4/6/5/5/4/4/2

13th

47

18

+7/2

+9/4

+5/+6/+9

112/7

4/6/5/5/5/4/2/1

14th

51

19

+8/3

+11/6

+5/+7/+10

119/7

4/6/5/5/5/4/3/2

15th

54

20

+8/3

+11/6

+6/+8/+10

144/9

4/6/6/5/5/5/4/2/1

16th
17th

58
61

20
22

+9/4
+9/4

+12/7
+12/7

+6/+8/+11
+6/+8/+11

152/9
160/9

4/6/6/5/5/5/4/3/2
4/6/6/5/5/5/5/3/2/1

18th
19th
20th

65
68
72

23
23
23

+10/5
+10/5
+11/6

+13/8
+13/8
+14/9

+7/+9/+12 189/10
+7/+9/+12 198/10
+7/+9/+13 230/11

4/6/6/4/5/5/5/4/3/2
4/6/6/6/5/5/5/5/3/3
4/6/6/6/6/5/5/5/5/4

Lvl
1st

hp
5

AC
12

Melee
+0

Ranged
+2

2nd
3rd
4th

8
12
16

12
12
13

+1
+1
+2

5th
6th
7th

19
23
26

13
13
14

8th
9th

30
33

10th
11th

F/R/W
+1/+2/+3

(1d6+1/18–20, masterwork rapier) or +9 ranged (1d4/19–20, masterwork hand crossbow); Full Atk +6 melee (1d6+1/18–20, masterwork rapier) or +9 ranged (1d4/19–20, masterwork hand crossbow); SA —; SQ drow traits; AL NE; SV Fort +4, Ref +7, Will +9;
Str 10, Dex 16, Con 11, Int 19, Wis 12, Cha 10.
Skills and Feats: Concentration +13, Craft (alchemy) +14, Knowledge (arcana) +17, Knowledge (dungeoneering) +17, Knowledge
(history) +14, Listen +3, Search +6, Spellcraft +19, Spot +3; Brew
Potion, Combat Casting, Craft Wondrous Item, Great Fortitude,
Scribe Scroll, Spell Penetration, Toughness.
Drow Traits: Immune to magic sleep spells and effects; +2 racial
bonus on saves against enchantment spells or effects; darkvision
120 ft.; entitled to a Search check when within 5 feet of a secret or
concealed door as though actively looking for it; spell resistance
26; +2 racial bonus on Will saves against spells or spell-like abilities; spell-like abilities (1/day—dancing lights, darkness, and faerie
fire as the spells from a 10th-level caster); light blindness (blinded
for 1 round by abrupt exposure to bright light, –1 circumstance
penalty on all attack rolls, saves, and checks while operating in
bright light); +2 racial bonus on Listen, Spot, and Search checks
(already figured into the statistics given above).
Wizard Spells Prepared (4/5/5/4/4/2; save DC 14 + spell level):
0—daze, detect magic, ghost sound, ray of frost; 1st—magic missile (3),
shield, true strike; 2nd—blur, flaming sphere, glitterdust, Melf ’s acid
arrow, web; 3rd—dispel magic, fireball, haste, lightning bolt; 4th—enervation, ice storm (2), shout; 5th—cone of cold, teleport.
Spellbook: 0—daze, detect magic, detect poison, flare, ghost sound, ray of
frost, read magic; 1st—charm person, identify, mage armor, magic missile, magic weapon, protection from good, shield, true strike; 2nd—bear’s
endurance, blur, bulls’s strength, cat’s grace, glitterdust, invisibility, Melf ’s
acid arrow, resist energy, scorching ray, web; 3rd—dispel magic, fireball,
fly, haste, hold person, invisibility sphere, lightning bolt, suggestion; 4th—

4/3
4/3/2
4/4/3

Gear
Mundane melee, mundane ranged, 800 gp
Mundane melee, mwk ranged, 1,650 gp
As 2nd level, except 2,150 gp
Bracers of armor +1, mundane melee, mwk
ranged, 950 gp
As 4th level, except 2,000 gp
As 4th level, except 4,300 gp
Bracers +1, ring of protection +1, mundane melee,
mwk ranged, 3,900 gp
As 7th level, except 6,100 gp
Bracers +2, ring +1, mundane melee, mwk
ranged, 5,700 gp
As 9th level, except 9,700 gp
Amulet of natural armor +1, bracers +2, ring +1,
mundane melee, mwk ranged, 12,700 gp
Amulet +1, bracers +3, ring +1, mundane melee,
mwk ranged, headband of intellect +2, 9,700 gp
Amulet +1, bracers +3, ring +2, +1 melee, mwk
ranged, headband +2, 9,300 gp
Amulet +1, bracers +3, ring +2, +1 melee, mwk
ranged, gloves of Dexterity +2, headband +2,
15,000 gp
Amulet +2, bracers +3, ring +2, +1 melee, mwk
ranged, gloves +2, headband +4, 11,000 gp
As 15th level, except 29,000 gp
Amulet +2, bracers +5, ring +2, +1 melee, mwk
ranged, gloves +2, headband +6, 26,000 gp
As 17th level, except bracers +6 and 45,000 gp
As 17th level, except bracers +6 and 85,000 gp
As 17th level, except bracers +6 and 135,000 gp

charm monster, confusion, dimension door, enervation, ice storm,
Otiluke’s resilient sphere, scrying, shout, stoneskin; 5th—cone of cold,
dominate person, telekinesis, teleport, wall of force.
Possessions: Bracers of armor +2, ring of protection +1, amulet of natural armor +1, cloak of resistance +1, masterwork rapier, masterwork
hand crossbow, 10 bolts, 3 doses drow knockout poison, spellbook.

ADJUSTMENTS BY RACE OR KIND
Add the adjustments below to the class-based statistics. Add and
apply all adjustments, such as ability score adjustments. For
example, a halfling gains a racial modifier of +2 to Dexterity (and
thus a +1 Dex bonus) and a +1 bonus on all saves, which means
that the finished character has a +2 Reflex save bonus. If a feat is
duplicated, select a new one.
See the Player’s Handbook or Dungeon Master’s Guide for other
traits by race or kind. (Racial traits that always affect a skill check
are already included in the adjustments to total skill bonuses.)

Explanations/Definitions
The following notes explain or define certain terms used in the
adjustments list.
–3 Ranks/Skill: Subtract 3 ranks from each skill modifier the
NPC is listed as having at 1st level. (The NPC has Hit Dice as a
monster and therefore doesn’t get 4 times its per-level skill ranks
at 1st level.)
Large: The NPC’s attack and AC bonuses are 1 lower, and it takes
a –4 penalty on Hide checks. The NPC’s weapon is larger, increasing damage (see page 28). The creature has 10-foot reach.
Slow: The NPC’s base land speed is 20 feet instead of 30 feet.
Small: The NPC’s attack and AC bonuses are 1 higher, and it
gains a +4 bonus on Hide checks. The NPC’s weapon is smaller,
decreasing damage (see page 28).

Weapon Proficiency: Regardless of class, the NPC is proficient at
least with simple weapons and weapons listed for its kind in the
Monster Manual.

NPC Adjustments

CHAPTER 4:

NONPLAYER
CHARACTERS

The statistics given here represent adjustments to a creature’s abilities and skills. If a creature has racial Hit Dice, this material
includes relative adjustments to base attack bonus and skill modifiers. In addition to the adjustments noted below, add feats based
on total Hit Dice and add the base creature’s special attacks and
special qualities.
Aasimar (Planetouched): +2 Wis, +2 Cha. +2 Listen, +2 Spot.
Bugbear: +2 CR. +4 Str, +2 Dex, +2 Con, –2 Cha. +3d8 HD. +2
base attack. +1 Fort, +3 Ref, +1 Will. +3 natural armor. –3
ranks/skill, +2 Climb, +4 Hide, +2 Listen, +6 Move Silently, +2
Spot.
Derro: +3 CR. +4 Dex, +2 Con, –6 Wis, +6 Cha. +3d8 HD. +3
base attack. +1 Fort, +3 Ref, +3 Will. +2 natural armor. –3
ranks/skill, +2 Bluff, +7 Hide, +4 Listen, +7 Move Silently. Small.
Speed 20 ft.
Doppelganger: +3 CR. +2 Str, +2 Dex, +2 Con, +2 Int, +4 Wis,
+2 Cha. +4d8 HD. +4 base attack. +1 Fort, +4 Ref, +4 Will. +4 natural armor. –3 ranks/skill, +9 Bluff, +8 Disguise, +4 Listen, +4 Sense
Motive, +4 Spot.
Drow (Elf): +1 CR. +2 Dex, –2 Con, +2 Int, +2 Cha. +2 Listen, +2
Search, +2 Spot.
Dwarf, Duergar: +1 CR. +2 Con, –4 Cha. +1 Listen, +4 Move
Silently, +1 Spot. Speed 20 ft.
Dwarf, Deep: +2 Con, –2 Cha. Speed 20 ft.
Dwarf, Hill [Common]: +2 Con, –2 Cha. Speed 20 ft.
Dwarf, Mountain: +2 Con, –2 Cha. Speed 20 ft.
Elf, Gray: –2 Str, +2 Dex, –2 Con, +2 Int. +2 Listen, +2 Search,
+2 Spot.
Elf, High [Common]: +2 Dex, –2 Con. +2 Listen, +2 Search,
+2 Spot.
Elf, Wild: +2 Dex, –2 Int. +2 Listen, +2 Search, +2 Spot.
Elf, Wood: +2 Str, +2 Dex, –2 Con, –2 Int. +2 Listen, +2 Search,
+2 Spot.
Gnoll: +1 CR. +4 Str, +2 Con, –2 Int, –2 Cha. +2d8 HD. +1 base
attack. +3 Fort. +1 natural armor. –3 ranks/skill, +2 Listen, +3 Spot.
Gnome, Forest: –2 Str, +2 Con, +2 Cha. +2 Craft (alchemy), +4
Hide, +2 Listen. Small. Speed 20 ft.
Gnome, Rock [Common]: –2 Str, +2 Con. +2 Craft (alchemy),
+2 Listen. Small. Speed 20 ft.
Gnome, Svirfneblin: +1 CR. –2 Str, +2 Dex, +2 Wis, –4
Cha. +2 Fort, +2 Ref, +2 Will. +4 dodge bonus to AC. Small.
Speed 20 ft.
Goblin: –2 Str, +2 Dex, –2 Cha. +4 Move Silently, +4 Ride.
Small.
Half-Celestial: +1 CR (up to 5 HD), +2 CR (6–10 HD), +3 CR
(11 or more HD). +4 Str, +2 Dex, +4 Con, +2 Int, +4 Wis, +4 Cha. +1
natural armor. Wings (fly at double land speed). Add these modifiers to the base creature’s adjustments.
Half-Dragon: +2 CR. +8 Str, +2 Con, +2 Int, +2 Cha. +4 natural armor. Base creature’s Hit Die increases one size to max of
d12 (no effect on class Hit Dice). If Large, it has wings (fly at
double land speed). Add these modifiers to the base creature’s
adjustments.
Half-Elf: +2 Diplomacy, +2 Gather Information, +1 Listen, +1
Search, +1 Spot.
Half-Fiend: +1 CR (up to 4 HD), +2 CR (5–10 HD), +3 (11 or
more HD). +4 Str, +4 Dex, +2 Con, +4 Int, +2 Cha. +1 natural armor.
Wings (fly at land speed). Add these modifiers to the base creature’s adjustments.
Half-Orc: +2 Str, –2 Int, –2 Cha.
Halfling, Deep: –2 Str, +2 Dex. +1 Fort, +1 Ref, +1 Will. +1
attack with thrown weapon (if any). +2 Listen. Small. Speed 20 ft.

Halfling, Lightfoot [Common]: –2 Str, +2 Dex. +1 Fort, +1
Ref, +1 Will. +1 attack with thrown weapon (if any). +2 Climb, +2
Jump, +2 Listen, +2 Move Silently. Small. Speed 20 ft.
Halfling, Tallfellow: –2 Str, +2 Dex. +1 Fort, +1 Ref, +1 Will. +1
attack with thrown weapon (if any). +2 Listen, +2 Search, +2 Spot.
Small. Speed 20 ft.
Hobgoblin: +2 Dex, +2 Con. +4 Move Silently.
Human: 1 extra feat. +1 skill (ranks = level +3).
Kobold: –4 Str, +2 Dex, –2 Con. +1 natural armor. +2 Craft (trapmaking), +2 Profession (miner), +2 Search. Small.
Lizardfolk: +1 CR. +2 Str, +2 Con, –2 Int. +2d8 HD. +1 base
attack. +3 Ref. +5 natural armor. –3 ranks/skill, +5 Balance, +6
Jump, +6 Swim.
Mind Flayer: +8 CR. +2 Str, +4 Dex, +2 Con, +8 Int, +6 Wis, +6
Cha. +8d8 HD. +6 base attack. +2 Fort, +2 Ref, +6 Will. +3 natural
armor. –3 ranks/skill, +8 Bluff, +6 Concentration, +8 Hide, +4
Intimidate, +8 Knowledge (any one), +8 Listen, +8 Move Silently,
+4 Sense Motive, +8 Spot.
Minotaur: +4 CR. +8 Str, +4 Con, –4 Int, –2 Cha. +6d8 HD. +6
base attack. +2 Fort, +5 Ref, +5 Will. +5 natural armor. –3 ranks/skill,
+3 Intimidate, +7 Listen, +4 Search, +7 Spot. Large.
Ogre: +2 CR. +10 Str, –2 Dex, +4 Con, –4 Int, –4 Cha. +4d8 HD.
+3 base attack. +4 Fort, +1 Ref, +1 Will. +5 natural armor. –3
ranks/skill, +3 Climb, +2 Listen, +2 Spot.Large. Speed 40 ft.
Ogre Mage: +8 CR. +10 Str, +6 Con, +4 Int, +4 Wis, +6 Cha.
+5d8 HD. +3 base attack. +4 Fort, +1 Ref, +1 Will. +5 natural armor.
–3 ranks/skill, +8 Concentration, +8 Listen, +8 Spellcraft, +8 Spot.
Large. Speed 50 ft.
Orc: +4 Str, –2 Int, –2 Wis, –2 Cha.
Tiefling (Planetouched): +2 Dex, +2 Int, –2 Cha. +2 Bluff, +2
Hide.
Troglodyte: +1 CR. –2 Dex, +4 Con, –2 Int. +2d8 HD. +1 base
attack. +3 Fort. +6 natural armor. –3 ranks/skill, +6 Hide, +3 Listen.
Multiattack (see the Monster Manual).
Werebear (Lycanthrope): +5 CR. +2 Str, +2 Con, –2 Cha. +4
base attack. +5 Fort, +5 Ref, +2 Will. +2 natural armor. +2 Listen, +2
Spot, +4 Swim. Iron Will, Track. See the Monster Manual for bear
and hybrid form. NPC loses gear in animal form.
Wereboar (Lycanthrope): +1 CR. +2 Str, +2 Con, –2 Cha. +2
natural armor. +2 base attack. +3 Fort, +3 Ref, +1 Will. +3 Listen, +3
Spot. See the Monster Manual for boar and hybrid form. NPC loses
gear in animal form.
Wererat (Lycanthrope): +1 CR. +2 Dex, +2 Con, –2 Cha. +2
natural armor. +2 Fort, +2 Ref, +2 Will. +1 Hide, +1 Move Silently.
Alertness, Iron Will. See the Monster Manual for rat or hybrid
form. NPC loses gear in animal form.
Weretiger (Lycanthrope): +1 CR. +2 Str, +2 Con, –2 Int. +2 natural armor. +4 base attack. +5 Fort, +5 Ref, +2 Will. +3 Listen, +3
Spot. Alertness, Iron Will. See the Monster Manual for tiger or
hybrid form. NPC loses gear in animal form.
Werewolf (Lycanthrope): +1 CR. +2 Str, –2 Int, +4 Wis, –2
Cha. +2 natural armor. +1 base attack. +3 Fort, +3 Ref, +0 Will. +1
Listen, +1 Spot. Iron Will, Track. See the Monster Manual for wolf
or hybrid form. NPC loses gear in animal form.

Table 4–23: NPC Gear Value
NPC Level
1st
2nd
3rd
4th
5th
6th
7th
8th
9th
10th

Value of Gear
900 gp
2,000 gp
2,500 gp
3,300 gp
4,300 gp
5,600 gp
7,200 gp
9,400 gp
12,000 gp
16,000 gp

NPC Level
11th
12th
13th
14th
15th
16th
17th
18th
19th
20th

Value of Gear
21,000 gp
27,000 gp
35,000 gp
45,000 gp
59,000 gp
77,000 gp
100,000 gp
130,000 gp
170,000 gp
220,000 gp

127

NONPLAYER
CHARACTERS

CHAPTER 4:

NPC ATTITUDES

In general, you run an NPC just as a player would run a PC: You
take whatever actions the character would take, assuming the
action is possible. That’s why it’s important to determine an NPC’s
general outlook and characteristics ahead of time if possible, so
you know how to play the character properly.
When a PC is dealing with NPCs, you determine the NPCs’ attitude, and a character may try to use Diplomacy to influence this
attitude as described on page 72 of the Player’s Handbook. A character without ranks in Diplomacy makes a Charisma check instead.
Choose the attitude of an NPC or NPCs based on circumstances. Most people met in a neutral city are indifferent. Most
guards are indifferent but suspicious, because that’s what’s
expected of them.
NPC Charisma Checks to Alter Other NPCs’ Attitudes:
Should it come up, an NPC can use a Diplomacy or Charisma
check to influence another NPC. However, NPCs can never
influence PC attitudes. The players always make their characters’
decisions.

FLESHING OUT NPCS

An NPC with a hacking cough and strong opinions about the king
is always more interesting than one you portray only as Kiale, the
2nd-level commoner. Remember that NPCs aren’t just game statistics, they are individuals with personalities, quirks, and opinions. You should strive to make many of the NPCs you use in your
game memorable characters whom the PCs will either like or dis-

Table 4–24: One Hundred Traits
d%
01
02
03
04
05
06
07
08
09
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17
18
19
20
21
22
23
24
25
27
28
29
30

128

31
32
33
34

Trait
Distinctive scar
Missing tooth
Missing finger
Bad breath
Strong body odor
Pleasant smelling (perfumed)
Sweaty
Hands shake
Unusual eye color
Hacking cough
Sneezes and sniffles
Particularly low voice
Particularly high voice
Slurs words
Lisps
Stutters
Enunciates very clearly
Speaks loudly
Whispers
Hard of hearing
Tattoo
Birthmark
Unusual skin color
Bald
Particularly long hair
Unusual hair color
Walks with a limp
Distinctive jewelry
Wears flamboyant or outlandish
clothes
Underdressed
Overdressed
Nervous eye twitch
Fiddles and fidgets nervously

35
36
37
38
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45
46
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50
51
52
53
54
55
56
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58
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62
63
64
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66
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like depending on how you play them. (Sometimes an NPC is not
memorable or just leaves the characters flat. That’s okay; not everyone is memorable in real life, either.)
This doesn’t mean that you need to write every NPC’s life story
beforehand. As a rule of thumb, give an NPC one or two distinctive traits. Think of these traits as what the characters will remember the NPC by. (“Let’s go back and see that guy with the bad
breath. He seemed to know what he was talking about, even if
talking to him was unpleasant.”)
Table 4–24: One Hundred Traits gives suggestions you can
choose from when creating NPCs (or you can roll them randomly
from the list if you desire). This table is only the beginning. Many
more traits could be added to the list. None of the ones listed here
have any effect on ability scores, skills, or game mechanics. Some
may seem to interact with game statistics (such as strong body
odor and Charisma). In such a case, don’t modify the Charisma
score, but play the NPC so that the trait fits. For example, a character with body odor and a medium or high Charisma score is particularly personable to overcome the trait. A lawful good character
with the cruel trait has no patience with or compassion for evil. A
character with a high Dexterity score who has the trait of walking
with a limp has sharp reflexes despite the drawback.
You can also use game statistics to decide traits. If a character
has a low Constitution score, he tires easily, so he might be overweight. If a character is highly intelligent, he might be quick with
a joke or a snappy comeback. If a character has a lot of physical
skills and feats, she’s probably athletic and muscular. Alignments
also lend themselves to distinctive traits, such as altruism, sadism,
or a love for freedom.

Whistles a lot
Sings a lot
Flips a coin
Good posture
Stooped back
Tall
Short
Thin
Fat
Visible wounds or sores
Squints
Stares off into distance
Frequently chewing something
Dirty and unkempt
Clean
Distinctive nose
Selfish
Obsequious
Drowsy
Bookish
Observant
Not very observant
Overly critical
Passionate artist or art lover
Passionate hobbyist (fishing, hunting,
gaming, animals, etc.)
Collector (books, trophies, coins,
weapons, etc.)
Skinflint
Spendthrift
Pessimist
Optimist
Drunkard
Teetotaler
Well mannered
Rude

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81
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100

Jumpy
Foppish
Overbearing
Aloof
Proud
Individualist
Conformist
Hot tempered
Even tempered
Neurotic
Jealous
Brave
Cowardly
Careless
Curious
Truthful
Liar
Lazy
Energetic
Reverent or pious
Irreverent or irreligious
Strong opinions on politics or morals
Moody
Cruel
Uses flowery speech or long words
Uses the same phrases over and over
Sexist, racist, or otherwise prejudiced
Fascinated by magic
Distrustful of magic
Prefers members of one class over all
others
Jokester
No sense of humor (See #26)

Illus. by A. Swekel

ncounters are to adventures what adventures are to campaigns. Good adventures make up good campaigns. Creating a campaign is the most difficult, but most rewarding,
task a DM faces.
It’s important to distinguish between a campaign and a
world, since the terms often seem to be used interchangeably. A
campaign is composed of a series of adventures, the nonplayer
characters (NPCs) involved in those adventures, and the events
surrounding everything that happens in those adventures. When
you guide players through adventures you have designed and the
players choose the paths for their characters within those adventures, you are running a campaign.
A world is a fictional place in which a campaign is set. It’s also
often called a campaign setting. A campaign requires a world in
which the action takes place, but whether you create your own
world or use an already established setting, the campaign you run
is always your own.
A campaign generally has the same set of characters (see The
Adventuring Party, below) throughout. They are the link between the
campaign’s adventures. You might think of such a campaign as a series
of novels or movies, with the same characters facing new challenges
that aren’t necessarily related to the challenges that came before.

ESTABLISHING A CAMPAIGN
A campaign first requires a world. A “world” is a consistent environment for the campaign. Geography and people are consistent
in the world: Ravensburg is always on the same side of the river,
and the NPCs remember the player characters after the first
meeting. You have two options when it comes to making a world
for your campaign.

• Use a Published Campaign Setting: The advantage of
using a published setting is that you don’t have to do so
much work. A lot of the creation is done for you, often
from the basics down to the details. Of course, you are
always free to pick and choose from the published material and use only what you like. One drawback to using
a published world is that your players might read the
same products that you do and might therefore know
as much (or more) about the world as you do. If this
happens, don’t let the players dictate the world to you.
(“No, I think Ravensburg is ruled by a queen. . . .”)
Above all, even if it’s a published product, it’s your
world.
• Create Your Own World: For more information on
how to do this, see World-Building, page 135.
Once you have a fictional game world and an
adventure for the characters to start with, the campaign can begin. The most important purpose of a
campaign is to make the players feel that their characters live in a real world. This appearance of realism, also called verisimilitude, is important because
it allows the players to stop feeling like they’re playing a game and start feeling more like they’re playing roles. When immersed in their roles, they are
more likely to react to evil Lord Erimbar than they
are to you playing Lord Erimbar.
You will know you have succeeded when the players ask you increasingly probing questions, questions
not just of the depth of “What’s beyond those
woods?” but such as “If the rangers around the
wood keep such a close watch on the edges of the

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forest, how can the orc raiders keep attacking the nearby villages without warning?” When the players ask questions of that
sort, they’re thinking in character. Don’t ever answer such a
question with “Because I said so” or “Because I’m the DM.”
Doing that encourages metagame thinking (see page 11). Either
provide an answer, or ask how the character is going to go about
finding out.
Occasionally, a player will see a loophole or inconsistency in
what you have created. Use such an observation to your advantage rather than admitting that you’ve made a mistake. Make the
quest for the answer a part of the adventure. When the players
discover that the leader of the rangers is taking bribes from the
orcs to look the other way, they will feel rewarded for asking the
right questions, and they will trust the verisimilitude of your
world that much more.

THE ADVENTURING PARTY
Bringing the group of adventurers (the party) together can be a
challenge. Not for the players—they are all sitting around the
table—but for the characters. What brings such a disparate
group of races and professions together and makes them a team
that goes on adventures together? The objective when answering this question is to avoid the dissatisfaction players feel when
they sense that they are adventuring with their comrades only
because these folks are the other PCs. One way to prevent this
feeling is to have the players create their characters together
and put the burden of determining how they have come
together on them before the first adventure ever starts. Here are
a few other suggestions.
Happenstance: The first adventure is set up so that someone
is putting out a call for mercenaries or adventurers to do some
task, and the characters are the men and women who happened
to answer the call. Alternatively, all the characters meet and discover that they are headed to the same place.
History: The characters are lifelong friends who have met in
the past. Despite their different backgrounds and training, they
are already good friends.
Mutual Acquaintances: The characters don’t start as friends
but are introduced as trusted friends of mutual friends.
Outside Intervention: The characters are called together by
an outside force—someone with authority enough to get them
to do as she says—and are commanded to work together, at least
on the first adventure.
The Cliché: The characters all meet in a tavern over mugs of
ale and decide to work together.

BEGINNING THE CAMPAIGN
Start small. Set the first adventure in whatever locale you desire,
give the players the information they need for that adventure, and
let them know just a little about the surrounding area. Later, you can
expand on this information, or the PCs can explore and find out
more firsthand. With each successive playing session, give the players a little more information about the campaign setting. Slowly, it
will blossom before them into what seems to be a real world.
A great moment in any DM’s career is when the players begin to
refer to places and people you have created in the campaign as if
they were real: “They’d never let you get away with that in the City
of Greyhawk!” “I wonder what Lord Nosh is up to these days? He
was looking for an apprentice when we saw him last.” When those
sorts of comments start to flow, you can bask in the glow of a successful campaign.

MAINTAINING A CAMPAIGN

Once it’s going, maintaining a campaign becomes as much work
as preparing adventures. Keep track of everything that happens,
everything that you tell the players about the setting, and work to
make it all into a fully actualized world. Build each adventure
upon those that came before. Learn from what’s happened—both
the good and the bad.

CONTEXT
The most important facet of a campaign is a context in which you
can set adventures and players can place their characters.
Consistency: The way to make your campaign consistent is to
keep accurate notes. If the Inn of the Blue Boar had a creaky door
when the PCs visit the place, make sure it has a creaky door when
they return (unless you have a reason for why it doesn’t creak anymore). Once the players notice consistent details (minor ones, such
as the creaking door, or major ones, such as a high priestess’s name),
they begin to feel that the world you have created is a real place.
Keep a notebook or binder with all your notes for the campaign, so
that everything is at your fingertips during a game session. If a
player asks for the name of the place that someone her character
met said was under siege, you should have the answer for her.
Calendars and Timekeeping: Keep close track of time. Track
the passing of each season so you can describe the weather. Mark
the coming and going of holy days and other dates of importance.
This practice helps you organizationally, as well as encouraging
you to establish a calendar for your setting. It is another way to
give your world verisimilitude.

pqqqqrs
VARIANT: UPKEEP

130

Instead of worrying about meal prices, lodging, replacing torn clothing,
and other miscellaneous costs, as well as to represent the kinds of
costs that turn up in daily life that aren’t reflected on the tables in
Chapter 7 of the Player’s Handbook, you can require each player to pay
a monthly upkeep cost based on the lifestyle of the character.
The upkeep can be assumed to take into consideration every
expense except the cost of specific adventuring equipment—even
taxes. Ultimately, each player should choose the level of upkeep she’s
willing to pay.
From most modest to priciest, the levels of upkeep are selfsufficient, meager, poor, common, good, and extravagant.
Self-Sufficient: Cost 2 gp per month. Even if you own your home (or
live with someone else), raise your own food, make your own clothes,
and so on, you occasionally need to purchase a new pair of shoes, pay
a road toll, or buy staples such as salt. Common laborers earn about 3
gp per month, so they usually have to be self-sufficient just to survive.
Meager: Cost 5 gp per month. A meager upkeep assumes that you

eat little (or hunt and gather a fair amount of your food in the wild) and
sleep in flophouses and occasionally in the street or in the wild.
Poor: Cost 12 gp per month. Poor upkeep means providing for yourself from the most basic of travelers’ accommodations, which are
nevertheless better than living on the street or in the woods.
Common: Cost 45 gp per month. You live in inns and eat tavern
meals every day, a practice that quickly grows to be moderately expensive. This level of upkeep assumes the occasional night drinking in the
tavern or a nice glass of wine with dinner.
Good: Cost 100 gp per month. You always stay in your own room at
inns, and you eat healthy, solid meals with a glass of wine. You maintain a jaunty style with your clothing and try to keep yourself supplied
with the good things in life.
Extravagant: Cost 200 gp per month. You buy and use only the best.
You take the finest rooms in the finest inns, eat lavish meals with the
best wines, attend and throw stunning parties, have regal clothing, and
make flamboyant gestures through large expenditures. You may even
own your own impressive home with servants.

pqqqqrs

Another key to maintaining a campaign is building on the past to
heighten drama, establish motivation, and flesh out the world. Set
the characters up for a hard fall. Establish a place in the campaign
world as a wonderful, free, and peaceful area. Then, later on in the
campaign, have that place invaded and ravaged by an evil force.
Having already established in the characters’ (and players’) minds
that it was a great place, you won’t need to provide any sort of
exposition to explain why the villains are so evil or give the characters motivation to get involved in stopping them.
Use what has come before and prepare for what is still to come.
That approach is what makes a campaign different from a series of
unrelated adventures. Some strategies for building on the past to
maintain a campaign include using recurring characters, having the
PCs form relationships beyond the immediate adventure, changing
what the PCs know, hitting the PCs where it hurts, preparing the
PCs for the future, and foreshadowing coming events.
Recurring Characters: While this group includes Johanna the
innkeeper, who is at the inn each time the PCs return from the
dungeon, it also extends to other characters as well. The mysterious stranger that they saw in a back alley of the City of Greyhawk
reappears on the road to the Duchy of Urnst, revealing his identity
and original intentions. The villain responsible for inciting the
goblins to attack the village returns, this time in possession of a
powerful magic item. The other adventurers the PCs encountered
in the dungeons below Castle Reglis show up just in time to help
fight off the black dragon Irrkuth. Overused recurring characters
can make a setting seem artificial, but reusing existing characters
judiciously not only lends realism but reminds PCs of their own
past, thus reaffirming their place in the campaign.
Relationships Beyond the Adventure: The PCs make friends
with the innkeeper’s son and visit him every time they are in town
just to hear another of his jokes. A PC falls in love with an azer
princess, and eventually they marry. Old Kragar, a retired fighter,
looks upon the PCs as the children he never had. Every year, the
centaurs of Chalice Wood deliver a present to the PC who slew the
green dragon on the anniversary of his heroic deed. Relationships
such as these flesh out the campaign world.
Change What the PCs Know: The king of the elves is replaced
by a usurper. The once dangerous roads near the Winding River
are now safe, thanks to increased patrols and a powerful group of
NPC adventurers who slew most of the monsters in the area.
Change a few facts, and you intrigue the players by making them
want to know why or how things changed.
Hit Them Where It Hurts: If a PC makes friends with the
blacksmith in town, you can make things interesting by having
the blacksmith tell the PC that his son was among those kid-

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BUILDING ON THE PAST

napped when the slavers attacked. If the PCs really enjoy visiting
the village of Shady Grove, put Shady Grove in the path of the evil
cleric’s advancing army. Don’t overdo revelations of this sort, or
else the PCs will never grow attached to anything, for fear of putting that thing in danger. However, this strategy works as a powerful motivator when used in moderation.
Prepare the PCs for the Future: If you know that later in the
campaign you want to have trolls rise up from their lairs and begin
raiding the Deep Cities of the dwarves, have the PCs hear about
the Deep Cities or even visit them on an adventure long before
this happens. Doing this will make the troll adventure much more
meaningful when it occurs. Threading information into early
adventures that informs the PCs of elements of future adventures
helps weave a campaign into a whole.
Foreshadow Coming Events: If the kobold that the characters captured speaks about a new troll king, and the PCs hear from
dwarves and gnomes the occasional tale of a battle with a troll,
they will be better prepared for the time when they must try to
stop the trolls from destroying the Deep Cities. They might even
follow up on the leads you plant without your ever having to initiate the adventure at all.

CHAPTER 5:

Events: Stagnation is unrealistic. Change encourages a feeling
of realism. Droughts ruin crops, kingdoms go to war, the queen
gives birth to a daughter, the price of steel rises as the iron mines
close up, and new taxation policies raise an uproar among the
common folk. In the campaign world, just as in the real world,
new events happen every day. Unlike in our world, the campaign
world might not have the technology to disseminate information
quickly, but eventually word of change does reach the characters.
Not all events need to be catalysts for adventures. Some serve well
just providing background.
A Reactive Environment: Actions that the PCs take should
affect the campaign. If the PCs burn down a tavern in the middle
of town, the authorities will be after them at least for questioning,
if not for punishment or restitution (see Player Characters Out of
Control, page 135). When the PCs accomplish something great,
people in the campaign world hear about it. Common folk begin
to recognize the characters’ names and perhaps even their faces. If
the characters free a town from a tyrant, the next time they come
to that town, conditions should be better—or at least different.

CHARACTERS AND THE
WORLD AROUND THEM

The PCs live in a living, breathing world. Included here are specific details regarding character classes and their place in the
world.

PCS AND NPCS
The NPC classes presented in Chapter 4 of this book showcase the
difference between PCs and the rest of the world: The PCs are
among the most capable members of the populace, or at least
among those with the greatest potential. The variance of ability
scores (from 3 to 18 or higher) shows that not all people in the
world are created equal, and not all have the same opportunities.
Having the same opportunities, in this case, means having
training. Training is the difference between an adept and a wizard,
a warrior and a fighter, a commoner and an expert. An NPC with
good ability scores might still be a warrior rather than a fighter
because she has never had the opportunity to obtain the training
to be a fighter. She can swing a sword, but she does not have the
finesse of a trained fighter. In theory, however, she could be
trained as a fighter at some point after beginning her career as a
warrior, gaining fighter levels through multiclassing.
Obviously, however, training isn’t always helpful. Someone
with an Intelligence score of 6 is never going to be a wizard, since
he is unable to cast spells. In theory, though, anyone with the
intelligence, the inclination, and the training can learn wizardry.

CLASS ROLES IN SOCIETY
Characters, particularly as they advance in level, need to know
how they and those like them fit into the world. This section may
be helpful in giving an idea of what classes particular NPCs might
belong to, what sorts of NPCs one might find in a world, how PCs
can fit in, and what PCs can potentially aspire to. Of course, PCs
can form whatever goals they wish, but the following information
might at least generate some ideas.
Barbarian: Barbarians, by their nature, have no place in civilized society. In their own tribal society they are hunters, warriors, and war chiefs. But in a civilized community, the best they
can hope for is to join fighters’ organizations and fill a fighter’s
roles. Often, fighters from a civilized society will not follow a
barbarian leader unless he has somehow proved himself worthy
of their loyalty. Barbarians of legend often aspire to gather those
like them and found their own tribe, or even their own kingdom.

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132

Bard: Bards serve as entertainers, either on their own, singing
for their supper, or in troupes. Some bards aspire to be an aristocrat’s personal troubadour. Bards occasionally gather in colleges of
learning and entertainment. Well-known, high-level bards often
found bard colleges. These colleges serve as the standard educational system for a city as well as a kind of guild where bards can
find training and support.
Cleric: Most clerics have an organizational structure built
right into their class. Religions usually have hierarchies, and each
cleric has his place within the structure. Clerics may be assigned
duties by their churches, or they might be free agents. Clerics can
serve in the military of an aristocrat sanctioned by their religion,
or within some autonomous church-based military order established for defense. A high-level cleric can hope to one day be the
shepherd of his own congregation and temple, although some
become religious advisors to aristocrats or the leaders of communities of their own, with the people of the community looking to
the cleric for religious and temporal guidance. Clerics often work
with paladins, and virtually every knightly order has at least one
cleric member.
Druid: Druids are often loners. They cloister themselves deep in
the wilderness in sacred groves or other areas that they have
claimed for themselves, sometimes working with a single ranger or
a group of rangers. Druids sometimes organize themselves in loose
affiliations. On rare occasions, druids sharing a particular focus
may organize themselves as a tight-knit order. Sometimes creatures
such as satyrs, centaurs, or other fey join these groups as well.
All druids are at least nominally members of druidic society,
which spans the globe. The society is so loose, however, that it may
have little influence on a particular druid.
Druids assist and sometimes even lead small, rural communities that benefit from their wisdom and power.
Fighter: These characters often serve as mercenaries or officers
in the army. The sheriff in a small town might well be a fighter.
Common soldiers and guards are usually warriors (see page 109).
Fighters may be loners or may gather to form martial societies
for training, camaraderie, and employment (as mercenary companies, bodyguards, and so on). High-level fighters of great renown
typically found such societies. A fighter of common birth can
hope to become an aristocrat’s champion one day, but those with
aspirations to true greatness plan on earning their own grants of
land to become nobility in their own right.
Monk: The tradition of monk training started in distant lands
but now has become common enough that local people can go off
to monasteries and learn the spiritual and martial arts. In large
cities, monks learn their skills in special academies. Monks often
serve the monastery or academy that trained them. Other times,
however, they may join a different monastery or academy. A highlevel monk with a good reputation can even found her own monastery or academy.
Only on rare occasions does a monk find a place in society outside her monastery. Such monks can become spiritual advisors,
military commanders, or even law enforcers. A unit of monks in
an army or in the local constabulary would be feared indeed.
Paladin: Paladins are knights, working for their church or
within a knightly order. Qualifying for an order is often difficult,
and membership always requires that the paladin follow a specific
code of conduct. These orders sometimes allow nonpaladins as
members, with good-aligned rangers and fighters being the most
common sort of nonpaladin members.
Paladins can serve in the military force of an aristocrat sanctioned by their religion, or within some autonomous churchbased military order established for defense. A high-level paladin
might seek to rule her own domain (to bestow her just benevolence upon the masses), establish her own temple where none
existed before, or to serve as the trusted lieutenant of a high priest
or worthy aristocrat. Paladins in such service are often called justi-

ciars or something similar, implying that the paladin is in charge
of dispensing church-sanctioned justice.
Ranger: Rangers often seclude themselves, wandering into the
wilderness for long stretches of time. If they aspire to leadership,
it is often as the warden of a small frontier community. Some
rangers form loose-knit and often secretive organizations. These
ranger groups watch over events in the land, and their members
gather to exchange information. They often have the best view of
the grand picture of everything that occurs. High-level rangers
aspire to found their own ranger societies or to establish and rule
new communities, often those they have carved out of the wilderness itself.
Rangers and druids often work together, even sharing the same
secretive network. Sometimes a ranger group includes a few
druids, or vice versa.
Rogue: Rogues may serve in armies as spies or scouts. They can
work as operatives of temples or as general troubleshooters for
aristocrats, having attained these unique positions because of the
versatility of their skills and abilities.
Frequently, however, rogues gather together in guilds
devoted to their area of expertise: theft. Thieves’ guilds are
common. The larger a city is, the more likely it is to have a
thieves’ guild. The populace and the constabulary sometimes
hate these guilds. At other times they are tolerated or even
accepted, so long as they don’t allow themselves to get out of
hand in their work. Acceptance is often gained through bribery
in politically corrupt areas.
Sorcerer: To the general populace, sorcerers are indistinguishable from wizards. They often fill the same roles as wizards in
society, although they rarely join wizards’ guilds, since they have
no need to research and study. Sorcerers, more than wizards, keep
to themselves. Sorcerers are more likely to hang about the fringes
of society, among creatures that other people would consider
monsters.
Conversely, some sorcerers find that military life suits them
even better than wizards. Sorcerers focused on battle spells are
more deadly than wizards, and they often are better with weapons.
A high-level sorcerer might aspire to the same sorts of goals a
wizard would. Despite their similarities, their differing
approaches means wizards and sorcerers find themselves in conflict more often than they get along.
Wizard: Wizards can serve many roles in society. Wizards for
hire are useful to the military as firepower (some armies employ
entire units of wizards to blast the enemy, protect troops from
danger, tear down castle walls, and so on). Or a wizard can serve
the community as a well-paid troubleshooter—someone able to
rid the town of vermin, stop the levee from bursting, or foretell
the future. A wizard can open a shop and sell magic items she creates or cast needed spells for a fee. She can aspire to serve an aristocrat as an advisor and chief wizard, or to even rule over a community on her own. Sometimes, the public fears a wizard for her
power, but more often than not the local wizard is a highly
respected member of the community.
Wizards sometimes gather in guilds, societies, or cabals for
mutual research, and to live among those who understand the
endless fascination of magic. Only the most powerful and famous
of wizards have the reputations necessary to found permanent
establishments, such as a wizard’s school. Where they exist, wizards’ guilds control such issues as the price and availability of
spells and magic items in a community.

GUILDS AND ORGANIZATIONS
As mentioned in many of the preceding descriptions, characters
often gather in groups with characters of the same class. Sometimes this is simply the best way to keep one’s place in society and
to make friends with common interests. Sometimes it’s required
by law or outside pressure. For example, if you’re a wizard in the

As a campaign progresses, the land or even the world will eventually be shaken by drastic events. The most common of these drastic events is the outbreak of war. War can provide a backdrop for
the campaign, existing mainly in the background of the action. It
can also help generate adventures, because people and places will
develop needs based on the conflict, such as when a city cut off
from all supplies needs help, a plague started by the war ravages
the land, or a shipment of arms needs guards. It can even involve
the PCs directly as they join one side or the other, acting as spies,
a small strike force, or even commanders in the army.
During wartime, authorities may restrict or even confiscate
materials and supplies—horses, food, weapons, vital ores, and
other equipment. Able-bodied people may be conscripted into the
ranks of the army. The PCs may find themselves unable to get the
equipment they require for an adventure, or may even find their
equipment—or themselves—confiscated by the authorities for
the war effort.

INVASION IN THE D&D GAME
A war staged in a fantasy world is similar to one fought in the real
world, but the fantastic elements of the setting—magic, heroes,
and monsters—create some obvious differences in tactics that are
reflected in the composition of the armies. In a war in the D&D
game, an invasion force usually has several components: the army,
monsters, and the strike team.
The Army: If a major invasion takes place, the invading army is
composed mainly of conscripts. These serve as skirmishers and

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WAR AND OTHER CALAMITIES

infantry. More extensively trained professional soldiers with
better equipment support the conscripts as infantry and archers.
Knights, cavalry, and units composed of wizards, sorcerers, and/or
clerics fill specialized roles in the army.
Typical Conscript: A typical conscript is a 1st-level commoner
wearing padded armor and carrying a wooden shield and a halfspear. After a conscript has been dealt even one wound, even if he’s
still above 0 hit points, he most likely drops to the ground and pretends to be dead. Conscripts don’t follow orders well, and they
often break ranks and flee when the fight goes against them.
Typical Soldier: Most soldiers are 1st-level warriors who wear
studded leather armor and carry either a Small or Medium martial
weapon (default to a longsword) and a wooden shield or a longbow. These soldiers are professionals or experienced conscripts
from harsh lands where conflict is common. They’re better trained
and more likely to hold their ground and follow orders than typical conscripts.
Typical Mounted Soldier: A typical mounted soldier is a 1st-level
warrior wearing scale mail and bearing a light lance, a wooden
shield, and a Medium martial weapon (default to a longsword).
These soldiers are always professionals, and they are among the
best trained typical warriors on the field.
Knights and Spellcasters: Actual members of the fighter class are
rare on the battlefield. Typically, they wear chainmail or a breastplate and serve as armed knights (though they may not hold a
title) and commanders. Just as rare as actual fighters are wizards,
sorcerers, or clerics present to provide magical support and firepower. Well-funded and well-organized armies have small units of
low-level spellcasters armed with wands or other magic items that
allow them to execute multiple magical attacks. Other armies
elect to have a single spellcaster with each unit of soldiers to cast
protective spells or supplement the soldiers’ attacks with offensive
spells. Clerics are particularly welcome additions to any army,
since they wear armor without hampering their spellcasting and
wield weapons effectively in addition to casting spells. They can
also help heal the fallen. In fact, a small unit of clerics with wands
of cure light wounds is an effective second wave that can be assigned
to follow the main force into battle and heal the fallen, providing a
wave of reinforcements.
Monsters: Aerial cavalry on griffons or hippogriffs, charmed
monsters and animals, and summoned creatures frequent the
battlefield. Mounted lancers on elephants and triceratopses clash
with goblins riding worgs and orcs riding dire tigers. Dragons
circle the combat, their breath weapons decimating entire units of
soldiers at once.
The Strike Team: Exceptional characters of higher than 1st
level serve their side in a special way. They assist the main army in
a battle, as mentioned above, as knights or magical support, or
they work in a mixed-class unit (similar to an adventuring party)
that confronts special threats such as enemy commanders, a
defender’s strong points, charmed monsters, or their counterparts
on the opposite side. They can also form small strike teams that go
into enemy territory to take out commanders, destroy supply
storehouses, steal plans, weaken defenses, or perform any number
of other special missions. Having a party serve as a strike team is a
great way to get PCs involved in a war without having to run endless huge battles at the forefront of the game session. (Although
such battles can be entertaining, they’re just as useful to the campaign in general if they remain in the background.)

CHAPTER 5:

town of Dyvers, you had better register with the local wizards’
cabal. To do otherwise and use magic without the cabal’s blessing
results in swift retribution. Thieves’ guilds are also notorious for
the displeasure with which they view nonmember rogues operating in their area, and the vigor of their response. On the other
hand, guilds can be simply beneficial to members of the appropriate class (see below). Or they can be a way of controlling characters of a specific class by some outside force. For example, a city
might require all bards who perform within its city walls to be
licensed by the local bards’ guild, the better to suppress scandalous
ballads that are overly critical of local figures.
Guilds often require dues, oaths of loyalty, or other commitments from their members. The extent of these requirements
should be based on the number and quality of benefits a member
gains. Tangible benefits include any or all of the following.
• Training
• Equipment availability (sometimes at a discount)
• Lodging
• Information
• Job opportunities
• Influential contacts
• Legal benefits (members are allowed to do things others can’t)
• Safety
One good reason to join a guild is to get an assist in character
training. If you use training requirements and/or costs in your
game, guilds can offer training at reduced rates to their members.
And guild members are always assured of having a trainer when
the time comes. Guilds that offer training often do so for free, but
then they require yearly dues of at least 1,000 gp. Other groups
offer training at half normal cost and only charge dues of 50 gp.
Not every organization need be based on class. The Defenders
of Truth is an organization made up of members of almost every
class (even rogues) based on upholding order and the rights of the
people in a localized community. The Society of the Claw is a
secretive, evil group of monks, fighters, rogues, and sorcerers who
seek to overthrow the king and take control of the kingdom on
their own.

OTHER CALAMITIES
Other major threats beyond war include earthquakes, large-scale
storms (such as hurricanes), plagues, and famine. Like war, these
calamities drain the resources of the common folk. They also
create dangerous and horrible situations that spark adventures
for PCs who seek to solve the problems or alleviate the suffering
of others.

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OTHER CAMPAIGN ISSUES

Other factors in dealing with campaigns include introducing new
players to an ongoing campaign, fostering player goals, changing
alignments, managing the transition of PCs from low to high
levels, and coping with increasing character power.

CAMPAIGNS

CHAPTER 5:

INTRODUCING NEW PLAYERS
Players come and go. When a new player joins the group, take the
average of the levels of the existing PCs and allow the new player
to create a character of that level. The only exception to this guideline is when the new player is completely unfamiliar with the
D&D game. In that case, it’s easiest for that player to start with a
1st-level character.
Working a new character into the group is similar to establishing why the group got together in the first place, but can be more
difficult if the party is in the middle of an adventure. A few possibilities are given below.
• The new PC is a friend or relative of one of the existing PCs and
finally caught up with the group to join in.
• The new PC is a prisoner of the foes the existing PCs are fighting. When they rescue him, he joins their group.
• The new PC was a part of another adventuring group that was
wiped out except for her.
• The new PC was sent to the site for reasons unrelated to the
party’s adventure (which might lead later to another adventure
that the new PC can initiate) and joins with the existing PCs
because there’s strength in numbers.

FOSTERING PLAYER GOALS
Players should eventually develop goals for their characters. Goals
might include joining a particular guild, starting their own
church, building a fortress, starting a business, obtaining a particular magic item, getting powerful enough to defeat the enemies
threatening their hometown, finding a lost brother, or tracking
down the villain who escaped them long ago. You should not only
encourage goals for characters, but you should be willing to
design adventures based around them. Goals shouldn’t be easy to
attain, but a player should always at least have the opportunity to
realize the goals he developed for his character (assuming they are
at all realistic).

CHANGING ALIGNMENT

134

A character can have a change of heart that leads to the adoption
of a different alignment. Alignments aren’t commitments, except
in specific cases (such as for paladins and clerics). Player characters have free will, and their actions often dictate a change of
alignment. Here are two examples of how a change of alignment
can be handled.
• A player creates a new character, a rogue named Garrett. The
player decides he wants Garrett to be neutral good and writes
that on Garrett’s character sheet. By the second playing session
of Garrett’s career, however, it’s clear that the player isn’t playing
Garrett as a good-aligned character at all. Garrett likes to steal
minor valuables from others (although not his friends) and does
not care about helping people or stopping evil. Garrett is a
neutral character, and the player made a mistake when declaring
Garrett’s alignment because he hadn’t yet really decided how he
wanted to play him. The DM tells the player to erase “good” on
Garrett’s character sheet, making his alignment simply “neutral.”
No big deal.
• An NPC traveling with the PCs is chaotic evil and is pretending
to be otherwise because he was sent to spy on them and foil
their plans. He has been evil all his life, and he has lived among
others who acted as he did. As he fights alongside the goodaligned PC adventurers, however, he sees how they work
together and help each other. He begins to envy them their

camaraderie. Finally, he watches as the paladin PC gives his life
to save not only his friends, but an entire town that was poised
on the brink of destruction at the hands of an evil sorcerer.
Everyone is deeply moved, including the evil NPC, and the
town celebrates and honors the paladin’s self-sacrifice. The
townfolk hail the adventurers as heroes. The NPC is so moved
that he repents, casting aside his own evil ways (and his
mission). He becomes chaotic neutral, but he is well on his way
to becoming chaotic good, particularly if he remains in the
company of the PCs. If the PCs had not acted so gallantly, he
might not have changed his ways. If they turn on the NPC
when they learn of his past, he may turn back to evil.
Most characters incur no game penalty for changing alignment,
but you should keep a few points in mind.
You’re in Control: You control alignment changes, not the
players. If a player says, “My neutral good character becomes
chaotic good,” the appropriate response from you is “Prove it.”
Actions dictate alignment, not statements of intent by players.
Alignment Change Is Gradual: Changes in alignment should
not be drastic. Usually, a character changes alignment only one
step at a time—from lawful evil to lawful neutral, for example,
and not directly to neutral good. A character on her way to adopting another alignment might have other alignments during the
transition to the final alignment.
Time Requirements: Changing alignment usually takes time.
Changes of heart are rarely sudden (although they can be). What
you want to avoid is a player changing her character’s alignment to
evil to use an evil artifact properly and then changing it right back
when she’s done. Alignments aren’t garments you can take off and
put on casually. Require an interval of at least a week of game time
between alignment changes.
Indecisiveness Indicates Neutrality: Wishy-washy characters should just be neutral. If a character changes alignment over
and over again during a campaign, what’s really happened is that
the character hasn’t made a choice, and thus she is neutral.
Exceptions: There are exceptions to all of the above. For instance, it’s possible (although unlikely) that the most horrible neutral evil villain has a sudden and dramatic change of heart and immediately becomes neutral good.

THE TRANSITION
FROM LOW TO HIGH LEVEL
One of the most rewarding and fun aspects of a campaign, for
players and DMs alike, is the slow but steady transition from 1st
level through the low levels (2nd–5th) to the middle levels
(6th–11th) into the high levels (12th–15th) and finally to the very
high levels (16th–20th). You should be aware that low-level play
and high-level play are very different experiences. At low levels,
it’s difficult to keep the characters alive. At high levels, it’s difficult
to cause them a lot of harm. Although you should be impartial
overall, at low levels make sure that the challenges the PCs face
aren’t far too tough for them. There’s plenty of time at the higher
levels when you can feel free to take off the kid gloves and throw
whatever you want at them. High-level characters have the power
and resources to survive and overcome just about anything.

Low Level
As characters start out and even after they gain a few levels, the
following points apply.
• Characters are fragile. Save bonuses, AC, and hit points are all
low.
• Characters can face only a few encounters before resting.
• Characters shouldn’t stray far from civilization.
• Characters can’t count on having a specific capability. Even if a
cleric prepares a certain spell, for example, there’s no guarantee
that he will still have it in his repertoire when he really needs it.
Spell durations are short, and resources are few.

Higher Levels

As the campaign progresses, the PCs get more powerful through
level advancement, the acquisition of money and magic items, and
the establishment of their reputations. You have to carefully
match this advancement with increasing challenges, both in foes
who must be overcome and in the deeds that must be performed.
In addition, however, you need to watch the PCs closely and
make sure that they neither get out of control because of their
increased power nor fail to use what’s put before them. While it’s
up to them to make decisions regarding their characters’ advancement and what they do with their newfound abilities, it’s up to you
to keep control of the campaign, maintain balance (see Keeping
Game Balance, page 13), and keep things running smoothly.

Character Wealth
One of the ways in which you can maintain measurable control on
PC power is by strictly monitoring their wealth, including their
magic items. Table 5–1: Character Wealth by Level is based on
average treasures found in average encounters compared with the
experience points earned in those encounters. Using that information, you can determine how much wealth a character should
have based on her level.
The baseline campaign for the D&D game uses this “wealth by
level” guideline as a basis for balance in adventures. No adventure
meant for 7th-level characters, for example, will require or assume
that the party possesses a magic item that costs 20,000 gp.

Table 5–1: Character Wealth by Level
Character
Level
2nd
3rd
4th
5th
6th
7th
8th
9th
10th
11th

Wealth
900 gp
2,700 gp
5,400 gp
9,000 gp
13,000 gp
19,000 gp
27,000 gp
36,000 gp
49,000 gp
66,000 gp

Character
Level
12th
13th
14th
15th
16th
17th
18th
19th
20th

Wealth
88,000 gp
110,000 gp
150,000 gp
200,000 gp
260,000 gp
340,000 gp
440,000 gp
580,000 gp
760,000 gp

Player Characters out of Control
Power can get out of hand. Power corrupts. PCs may do things that
show their arrogance, or their contempt for those below them, as
they advance in power. A 10th-level fighter may feel that he no

CAMPAIGNS

CHARACTER POWER LEVELS

longer has to treat the duke with respect since he can single-handedly defeat all the duke’s soldiers. A powerful wizard might feel so
unstoppable that she wantonly tosses around fireballs in the
middle of town. While it’s fine for PCs to enjoy their abilities as
they advance in level (that’s the whole point), they shouldn’t be
allowed to do whatever they wish. Even high-level characters
shouldn’t run about completely unchecked.
Players should always remember one fact: There’s always someone
more powerful. You should set up your world with the idea that the
PCs, while special, are not unique. Other characters, many of them
quite powerful, have come along before the PCs. Institutions of
influence have had to deal with individuals of great power long
before the PCs. The duke may have some powerful warrior or fighter
on retainer as a champion for when someone gets out of line. The
city constabulary probably has a rod of negation or a scroll of antimagic
field to deal with out-of-control wizards. The point is that NPCs with
resources will be prepared for great danger. The sooner the PCs realize this, the less likely they will run amok in your campaign world.

CHAPTER 5:

As characters gain more levels, the following points become increasingly pertinent.
• Characters are very tough. Save bonuses, AC, and hit points are
all high.
• Characters can survive many encounters before resting. At very
high levels, the need for rest is rarely an issue.
• Characters can provide their own food, their own magic items,
and their own healing. They can even raise each other from the
dead.
• Given time, characters can do almost anything. Even if the wizard in the group doesn’t know the disintegrate spell, you can
place a barrier that can only be bypassed by disintegrate and
count on the party being able to get past it. (They can obtain
access to the spell in some way, or use their other resources to
achieve the same goal.) At very high levels, don’t be afraid to
throw just about any challenge in the way of the characters. All
kinds of character actions—movement, durability, dealing
damage, influencing others, accumulating information, and
adaptation to circumstances and environments—have a higher
chance of success at higher levels.

WORLD-BUILDING

You may wish to build your own world. It’s a challenging and
rewarding task, but it can also be a time-consuming one.
Once you have decided to create your own world, you face a
number of choices. Do you make it like the real world, drawing from
history and real-world knowledge, or do you create something completely different? Do you draw from your favorite fictional setting or
create it all on your own? Do the laws of physics work as we know
them, or is the world flat with a dome of stars overhead? Do you use
the standard races, classes, and equipment in the Player’s Handbook, or
do you create new ones? The questions alone are daunting, but for
those who love world-building, they are also exciting.
So where do you start? There are two approaches to creating a
campaign world.
Inside Out: Start with a small area and build outward. Don’t even
worry about what the whole world looks like, or even the kingdom.
Concentrate first on a single village or town, preferably with a dungeon or other adventure site nearby. Expand slowly and only as
needed. When the PCs are ready to leave the initial area (which
might not be for ten or more playing sessions, depending on your
first adventures), expand outward in all directions so you’re ready no
matter which way they go. Eventually, you will have an entire kingdom developed, with the whole derived from what follows from the
initial starting point. Proceed to other neighboring lands, determining the political situation in each one. Keep accurate notes as you
play, for you may develop rumors of hostilities with a neighboring
kingdom before you ever develop the kingdom itself!
The advantage to this method is that you don’t need to do a lot
of work to get started. Whip up a small area—probably with a
small community—design an adventure, and go. This method
also ensures that you won’t develop areas of the campaign that are
never visited by the PCs and that you can develop things (and
change your mind) as you go.
Outside In: Start with the big picture—draw a map of an entire
continent or a portion thereof. Alternatively, you could start with a
grand design for how a number of kingdoms and nations interact
or the outline of a vast empire. You could even start with a cosmology, deciding how the deities interact with the world, where the
world is positioned in relation with other worlds, and what the
world as a whole looks like. Only after you have this level of concept design worked out should you focus on a particular area.
When you begin more detailed work, start with large-scale basics
and work down to small-scale details. For example, after you have
constructed your continent map, pick a single kingdom and create
the ruler or rulers and the general conditions. From there, focus on
some substate or region within the kingdom, develop who and
what lives there (and why), and pepper the region with a few hooks

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CHAPTER 5:

and secrets for later development. Finally, once you get down to the
small scale—a single community, a particular patch of forest or
valley, or wherever you choose to start the campaign—develop the
area in great detail. The specifics of the small area should reflect and
tie back to the basics you have set up for the larger areas.
This method ensures that once you have started the campaign,
you’re already well on your way to having a complete setting.
When things are moving along quickly in the campaign, you can
focus on the characters and individual adventures, because the
world is mostly done. This method also allows you to use foreshadowing of larger events, faraway places, and grander adventures early on in the campaign.

GEOGRAPHY
Campaigns need worlds. Worlds have geography. This means that
when creating your world, you need to place the mountains, the
oceans, the rivers, the towns, the secret fortresses, the haunted
forests, the enchanted places, and all the other locales and features.
If you want a realistic world, use encyclopedias and atlases to
learn more about topography, climate, and geography (natural
and political). You only need the basics to create a fantasy world,
unless you or your players are sticklers for accuracy. Research and
learn as much as you need to create a world that will please your
players. In general, however, if you know a little about how terrain affects climate, how different types of terrain interact
(mountains usually follow coastlines, for example), and how both
climate and terrain determine where people usually live, that
should be enough.
When you’re done, you can create the map or maps you need for
your campaign.

Climate/Terrain Types
There are three different climate types and eight different terrain
types that you need to be concerned with in the D&D game, although you could create additional types for your own world.
These climate and terrain types are those referenced in monster
descriptions in the Monster Manual and in the wilderness encounter lists found in Chapter 3: Adventures.
You should assign each region of your world a climate/terrain type to designate what sort of landscape it has, what seasons and weather conditions prevail there, and what creatures
inhabit the area.
Some of these types are incompatible. For example, without
some sort of magical event, you won’t find a tropical rain forest (a
warm climate zone) next to an arctic plain (a cold climate zone).
Some terrain types are much more habitable to the common races
from which PCs are derived than others, although all have monsters, animals, and intelligent creatures native to them.
Cold: This climate type describes arctic and subarctic areas.
Any area that has winter conditions for a larger portion of the year
than any other seasonal variation is cold.

Temperate: This climate type describes areas that have alternating warm and cold seasons of approximately equal length.
Warm: This climate type describes tropical and subtropical
areas. Any area that has summer conditions for a larger portion of
the year than any other seasonal variation is warm.
Aquatic: This terrain type is composed of fresh or salt water.
Desert: This terrain type describes any dry area with sparse
vegetation.
Plains: Any fairly flat area that is not a desert, marsh, or forest is
considered plains.
Forest: Any area covered with trees is forest terrain.
Hills: Any area with rugged but not mountainous terrain is
hills terrain.
Mountains: Rugged terrain that is higher in elevation than
hills is considered mountains.
Marsh: Low, flat, waterlogged areas are marsh terrain.
Underground: Subterranean areas are designated as underground terrain.

Ecology
Once you have determined the lay of the land, you can develop
what lives where.
The Monster Manual gives a climate/terrain type for each kind
of creature. With that information to work with, decide which
creatures live where within each region of your world. If you have
room on your map to mark such information, do so. It will help
you keep track of things later on, both when determining random
encounters and when developing adventure plots. For example, if
you know that the PCs are on their way to the village of Thorris,
you can see that living in the marsh nearby are hags, harpies, and
a black dragon that the travelers might encounter. You can also use
this information to create an adventure involving Thorris and the
black dragon in which the dragon coerces the trolls to attack the
people living there.
Considering the ecology issues of the marsh helps you explain
the creatures’ existences. What do the hags eat? What about the
harpies? They must compete for resources, so do they avoid each
other, or do they fight? The world is a predator-heavy one, based on
the creatures described in the Monster Manual. Designing your
world’s ecology means coming up with a way to make sense of how
it all works together. Perhaps there’s bountiful prey in most areas
that an overall abundance of vibrant, energy-rich plant life might
help explain. Perhaps the predators prey upon each other. You don’t
have to design a complete food chain, but giving thought to some
ecology issues will help you answer player questions later—and
that will help make your world seem real to them.

DEMOGRAPHICS
Once the geography is determined, you can populate your world.
This step is more important than monster placement and general
ecology, not only because the PCs will spend more time in civi-

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BEHIND THE CURTAIN:
HOW REAL IS YOUR FANTASY?

136

This section on world-building assumes that your campaign is set in a
fairly realistic world. That is to say that while wizards cast spells, deities
channel power to clerics, and dragons raze villages, the world is round,
the laws of physics are applicable, and most people act like real people.
The reason for this assumption is that unless they are told otherwise,
this situation is what your players expect.
That said, you could create a world that is very different from even
these basic premises. Your campaign could be set within a hollow world,
on a flat world, or on the inside of a tube that spins around the sun.
You could change the laws of physics to produce a world with
objects or materials so light that they float, areas where time flows at a

different rate, or the very real threat that the ocean might wash seafarers off the side of the world so that they fall forever in an eternal waterfall. One point to keep in mind if you’re going to change premises that
we all take for granted, however, is that you should try to maintain
some consistency. If time passes more slowly as you move away from
the central Mountain of the Earth’s Heart, then this fact should always
be true. The people of the world should understand and accept this
reality. If that’s the way the world works, it wouldn’t seem odd to them.
You could establish a land where people are so truly good that no
government or organization is needed to maintain order or peace. Or
you could create a land where everyone is born evil, the scions of an
evil progenitor god, and they all work together for the downfall of goodness. Such people are not realistic, but they’re certainly interesting.

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When the PCs come into a town and you need to generate facts
about that town quickly, you can use the following material. To randomly determine the size of a community, roll on Table 5–2 below.

Table 5–2: Random Town Generation
d%
Town Size
Population*
GP Limit
01–10
Thorp
20–80
40 gp
11–30
Hamlet
81–400
100 gp
31–50
Village
401–900
200 gp
51–70
Small town
901–2,000
800 gp
71–85
Large town
2,001–5,000
3,000 gp
86–95
Small city
5,001–12,000
15,000 gp
96–99
Large city
12,001–25,000
40,000 gp
100
Metropolis
25,001 or more
100,000 gp
* Adult population. Depending on the dominant race of the
community, the number of nonadults will range from 10% to 40%
of this figure.

Every community has a gold piece limit based on its size and population. The gold piece limit (see Table 5–2) is an indicator of the
price of the most expensive item available in that community.
Nothing that costs more than a community’s gp limit is available
for purchase in that community. Anything having a price under
that limit is most likely available, whether it be mundane or magical. While exceptions are certainly possible (a boomtown near a
newly discovered mine, a farming community impoverished after
a prolonged drought), these exceptions are temporary; all communities will conform to the norm over time.
To determine the amount of ready cash in a community, or the
total value of any given item of equipment for sale at any given
time, multiply half the gp limit by 1/10 of the community’s population. For example, suppose a band of adventurers brings a bagful
of loot (one hundred gems, each worth 50 gp) into a hamlet of 90
people. Half the hamlet’s gp limit times 1/10 its population equals
450 (100 ÷ 2 = 50; 90 ÷ 10 = 9; 50 × 9 = 450). Therefore, the PCs can
only convert nine of their recently acquired gems to coins on the
spot before exhausting the local cash reserves. The coins will not
be all bright, shiny gold pieces. They should include a large
number of battered and well-worn silver pieces and copper pieces
as well, especially in a small or poor community.
If those same adventurers hope to buy longswords (price 15 gp
each) for their mercenary hirelings, they’ll discover that the
hamlet can offer only 30 such swords for sale, because the same
450 gp limit applies whether you’re buying or selling in a given
community.

CAMPAIGNS

GENERATING TOWNS

Community Wealth and Population

CHAPTER 5:

lized areas, but also because the players have real-world experiences to measure their game experiences against when they’re
among other people.
People, in general, live in the most convenient places possible.
They try to place their communities near sources of water and
food, in comfortable climates, and close to sources of transportation (seas, rivers, flat land to build roads on, and so on). Of course,
exceptions exist, such as a town in the desert, an isolated community in the mountains, and a secret city in the middle of a forest or
at the top of a mesa. But there is also always a reason for those exceptions: The city at the top of the mesa is placed there for defense,
and the isolated community in the mountains exists because the
people there want to cut themselves off from the rest of the world.
Table 5–2: Random Town Generation shows a breakdown of different community sizes. Small communities are much more
common than larger ones. In general, the number of people living
in small towns and larger communities should be about 1/10 to
1/15 the number living in villages, hamlets, thorps, or outside a
community at all. You might create a metropolis at the civilized
center of the world with 100,000 people, but such a community
should be the exception, not the rule. The more closely a city’s location conforms to the ideal parameters (near food and water, in a
comfortable climate, close to sources of transportation), the larger it
can become. A secret city on top of a mesa might exist, but it’s
unlikely to be a metropolis. People living in cities need food, so if no
nearby sources of food (farms, plenty of wild animals, herds of livestock) are present, the community needs efficient transportation
sources to ship food in. It needs some other renewable resource as
well, such as nearby forests to harvest for timber or minerals to
mine, to produce something to exchange for the imported food.
Small, agricultural-based communities are likely to surround a
larger city and help to supply the city population with food. In
such cases, the larger community is probably a source of defense (a
walled town, a castle, a community fielding a large number of deployable troops) that inhabitants of surrounding communities can
seek refuge in or rely on to defend them in times of need.
Sometimes, a number of nearby small communities clump together with no large community at the center. These small villages
and hamlets form a support network, and the local lord often
boasts a centrally located castle or fortress used as a defensible
place to which the villagers can flee when threatened.
On a larger scale, the borders of kingdoms and countries usually coincide with physical, geographical barriers. Countries that
draw boundaries through plains, farms, and undulating hills usually fight a lot of battles over such borders and have to redraw the
borders frequently until they coincide with natural barriers.
Therefore, mountain ranges, rivers, or abrupt landscape changes
should usually mark the borders between lands in your world.

Power Center for the Community
Sometimes all the DM needs to know about a community is who
holds the real power. To determine this fact randomly, use the
table below, modifying the d20 roll according to the size of the
community. As indicated in the list of modifiers, any community
the size of a small city or larger has more than one power center.
The types of power centers—conventional, monstrous, nonstandard, and magical—are defined below.

Power Centers
Community Size
Thorp
Hamlet
Village
Small town
Large town
Small city
Large city
Metropolis

Modifier to d20 roll
–1
+0
+1
+2
+3
+4 (roll twice)
+5 (roll three times)
+6 (roll four times)

d20
Power Center Type
13 or less
Conventional*
14–18
Nonstandard
19 or more
Magical
* 5% of communities with a conventional power center have a
monstrous power center in addition to the conventional one.

Conventional: The community has a traditional form of
government—a mayor, a town council, a noble ruling over the
surrounding area under a greater liege, a noble ruling the community as a city-state. Choose whichever form of government seems
most appropriate to the area.
Monstrous: Consider the impact on a community of a
dragon that occasionally makes nonnegotiable demands and
insists on being consulted in major decisions, or a nearby ogre
tribe that must be paid a monthly tribute, or a mind flayer
secretly controlling the minds of many of the townsfolk. A
monstrous power center represents any influence (beyond just

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a simple nearby danger) held by a monstrous being or beings
not native to the community.
Nonstandard: While the community may have a mayor or a
town council, the real power lies in other hands. It may center on
a guild—a formal organization of merchants, craftsmen, professionals, thieves, assassins, or warriors who collectively wield great
influence. An aristocracy, in the form of one or more rich individuals with no political office, may exert influence through wealth.
A prestigious aristocracy, such as a group of accomplished adventurers, may exert influence through their reputation and experience. Wise elders may exert influence over those who respect
their age, reputation, and perceived wisdom.
Magical: This type of power center can take the form of a
temple full of priests or a single sorcerer cloistered in a tower. A
wizard or cleric might be the actual, official ruler of the town, or
she may just be someone with a great deal of influence.

Alignment of Power Centers
The alignment of the ruler or rulers of a community need not conform to the alignment of all or even the majority of the residents,
although this is usually the case. In any case, the alignment of the
power center strongly shapes the residents’ daily lives. Due to
their generally organized and organizing nature, most power centers are lawful.
To randomly determine the alignment of a power center, roll
d% and refer to the table below. How a power center of a given
alignment acts, or how it is perceived by the community, is discussed following the table.

evil or law vs. chaos), they conflict in some way. Such conflict is
not always open, and sometimes the conflicting power centers
grudgingly get along.
For example, a small city contains a powerful chaotic good wizards’ guild but is ruled by a lawful good aristocrat. The wizards are
sometimes exasperated by the strict laws imposed by the aristocrat
ruler and occasionally break or circumvent them when it serves
their (well-intentioned) purposes. Most of the time, though, a representative from the guild takes their concerns and disagreements
to the aristocrat, who attempts to equitably resolve any problems.
Another example: A large city contains a powerful lawful evil
fighter, a lawful good temple, and a chaotic evil aristocrat. The selfish aristocrat is concerned only with his own gain and his debauched desires. The fighter gathers a small legion of warriors,
hoping to oust the aristocrat and take control of the city herself.
Meanwhile, the clerics of the powerful temple help the citizenry
as well as they can, never directly confronting the aristocrat but
aiding and abetting those who suffer at his hands.

Community Authorities
It’s often important to know who makes up the community’s
authority structure. The authority structure does not necessarily
indicate who’s in charge, but instead who keeps order and
enforces the authority that exists.
Constable/Captain of the Guard/Sheriff: This position generally devolves upon the highest-level warrior in a community, or
one of the highest-level fighters. To randomly determine the class
and level of a community’s constable, roll d% and refer to the following table.

Power Center Alignment
d%
01–35
36–39
40–41
42–61
62–63

Alignment
Lawful good
Neutral good
Chaotic good
Lawful neutral
True neutral

d%
64
65–90
91–98
99–100

Alignment
Chaotic neutral
Lawful evil
Neutral evil
Chaotic evil

Lawful Good: A community with a lawful good power center
usually has a codified set of laws, and most people willingly obey
those laws.
Neutral Good: A neutral good power center rarely influences
the residents of the community other than to help them when
they are in need.
Chaotic Good: This sort of power center influences the
community by helping the needy and opposing restrictions on
freedom.
Lawful Neutral: A community with a lawful neutral power
center has a codified set of laws that are followed to the letter.
Those in power usually insist that visitors (as well as residents)
obey all local rules and regulations.
True Neutral: This sort of power center rarely influences the
community. Those in power prefer to pursue their private goals.
Chaotic Neutral: This sort of power center is unpredictable,
influencing the community in different ways at different times.
Lawful Evil: A community with a lawful evil power center usually has a codified set of laws, which most people obey out of fear
of harsh punishment.
Neutral Evil: The residents of a community with a neutral evil
power center are usually oppressed and subjugated, facing a dire
future.
Chaotic Evil: The residents of a community with a chaotic evil
power center live in abject fear because of the unpredictable and
horrific situations continually placed upon them.

Conflicting Power Centers

138

If a community has more than one power center, and two or more
of the power centers have opposing alignments (either good vs.

d%
01–60
61–80
81–100

Officeholder
Highest-level warrior
Second highest-level fighter
Highest-level fighter

Use the tables in the next section to determine the constable’s level.
Guards/Soldiers: For every 100 people in the community
(round down), the community has one full-time guard or soldier.
In addition, for every 20 people in the community, an able-bodied
member of the local militia or a conscript soldier can be brought
into service within just a few hours.

Other NPCs in the Community
For detailed city play, knowing exactly who lives in the community becomes important. The following guidelines allow you to
determine the levels of the most powerful locals and then extrapolate from that to determine the rest of the classed characters
living there.
Highest-Level NPC in the Community for Each Class: Use
the following tables to determine the highest-level character in a
given class for a given community. Determine the appropriate
community modifier by consulting the first table below; then
refer to the second table, roll the dice indicated for the class, and
apply the modifier to get a result.
A result of 0 or lower for character level means that no characters of that kind can be found in the community. The maximum
level for any class is 20th.

Total Characters of Each Class
Use the following method for determining the levels of all the
characters in a community of any given class.
For PC classes, if the highest-level character indicated is 2nd
level or higher, assume the community has twice that number of
characters of half that level. If those characters are higher than 1st
level, assume that for each such character, the community has two
of half that level. Continue until the number of 1st-level characters is generated. For example, if the highest-level fighter is 5th

level, then the community also has two 3rd-level fighters and four
1st-level fighters.
Do the same for NPC classes, but leave out the final stage that
would generate the number of 1st-level individuals. Instead, take
the remaining population after all other characters are generated
and divide it up so that 91% are commoners, 5% are warriors, 3%
are experts, and the remaining 1% is equally divided between aristocrats and adepts (0.5% each). All these characters are 1st level.
Using these guidelines and the tables in the previous section,
the breakdown by class and level for the population of a typical
hamlet of two hundred people looks like this:

Community Modifiers
Community Size
Community Modifier
Thorp
–31
Hamlet
–21
Village
–1
Small town
+0
Large town
+3
Small city
+6 (roll twice)2
Large city
+9 (roll three times)2
Metropolis
+12 (roll four times)2
1 On a d% roll of 96–100, a thorp or a hamlet adds +10 to the
modifier when determining the level of a ranger or druid.
2 Cities this large can have more than one high-level NPC per class,
each of whom generates lower-level characters of the same class, as
described below.

The racial mix of a community depends on whether the community
is isolated (little traffic and interaction with other races and places),
mixed (moderate traffic and interaction with other races and places),
or integrated (lots of interaction with other races and places).

Racial Mix of Communities
Isolated
96% human
2% halfling
1% elf
1% other races

Mixed
79% human
9% halfling
5% elf
3% dwarf
2% gnome
1% half-elf
1% half-orc

Integrated
37% human
20% halfling
18% elf
10% dwarf
7% gnome
5% half-elf
3% half-orc

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•
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
•

One 1st-level aristocrat (mayor)
One 3rd-level warrior (constable)
Nine 1st-level warriors (two guards, seven militia members)
One 3rd-level expert smith (militia member)
Seven 1st-level expert crafters and professionals of various sorts
One 1st-level adept
One 3rd-level commoner barkeep (militia member)
One hundred sixty-six 1st-level commoners (one is a militia
member)
One 3rd-level fighter
Two 1st-level fighters
One 1st-level wizard
One 3rd-level cleric
Two 1st-level clerics
One 1st-level druid
One 3rd-level rogue
Two 1st-level rogues
One 1st-level bard
One 1st-level monk

Racial Demographics

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•
•
•
•
•
•
•
•

In addition to the residents you generate using the system
described above, you might decide that a community has some
sort of special resident, such as the single, out-of-place 15th-level
sorcerer who lives just outside a thorp of fifty people, or the secret
assassins’ guild brimming with high-level characters hidden in a
small town. Residents such as these that you create “on the fly” do
not count against the highest-level characters who are actually
part of the community.

If the area’s dominant race is other than human, place that race
in the top spot, put humans in the #2 rank, and push each other
race down one rank. For example, in a dwarven town, the population is 96% dwarf, 2% human, 1% halfling, and 1% other races. (All
dwarven communities are isolated.) You may also change the
figures slightly to reflect various racial preferences. For example, a
mixed elven village is 79% elf, 9% human, 5% halfling, 3% dwarf,
2% gnome and 2% half-elf (with no half-orcs). You might decide to
switch the percentages of gnomes and dwarves for an elven
community.

ECONOMICS
Although treasure is what’s important to PCs, you should have a
fair grasp of the economic system that surrounds the treasure they
earn, as well as the prices charged for services, equipment, and
magic items. Economics in your campaign doesn’t have to be convoluted or tedious, but it should at least be internally consistent. If
the price of a broadsword in Thorris is 20 gp, it shouldn’t suddenly
shoot up to 200 gp without some explanation, such as the flow of
metal or ore being cut off, the only smiths in 100 miles all being
killed in a terrible accident, or something equally bizarre.

Coinage
Highest-Level Locals
Class
Character Level
Adept
1d6 + community modifier
Aristocrat
1d4 + community modifier
Barbarian1
1d4 + community modifier
Bard
1d6 + community modifier
Cleric
1d6 + community modifier
Commoner
4d4 + community modifier
Druid
1d6 + community modifier
Expert
3d4 + community modifier
Fighter
1d8 + community modifier
Monk1
1d4 + community modifier
Paladin
1d3 + community modifier
Ranger
1d3 + community modifier
Rogue
1d8 + community modifier
Sorcerer
1d4 + community modifier
Warrior
2d4 + community modifier
Wizard
1d4 + community modifier
1 Where these classes are more common, level is 1d8 + modifier.

The economic system in the D&D game is based on the silver
piece (sp). A common laborer earns 1 sp a day. That’s just enough
to allow his family to survive, assuming that this income is supplemented with food his family grows to eat, homemade clothing,
and a reliance on self-sufficiency for most tasks (personal grooming, health, animal tending, and so on).
In your campaign, however, the PCs will deal primarily with
gold pieces. The gold piece (gp) is a larger, more substantial unit of
currency. The main reason why PCs typically receive and spend
gold pieces is that, as adventurers, they take much larger risks
than common folk and earn much larger rewards if they survive.
Many of the people with whom adventurers interact also deal
primarily in gold. Weaponsmiths, armorsmiths, and spellcasters all
make more money (sometimes far more money) than common
people. Spellcasters willing to make magic items or cast spells for
hire can make a lot of money, although expenditures of personal
power (experience points) are often involved, and the demand for
such expensive items is unsteady at best and can be depended on
only in large cities. Nobles with whom the PCs might interact also

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deal mostly in gold, since they purchase whole ships and buildings
and finance caravans and even armies using such currency.
Some economies have other forms of currency, such as trade
bars or letters of credit representing various amounts of gold that
are backed by powerful governments, guilds, or other organizations to insure their worth. Some economies even use coins of different metals: electrum, iron, or even tin. In some lands, it’s even
permissible to cut a gold coin in half to make a separate unit of
currency out of a half gold piece.

Taxes and Tithes
Taxes paid to the queen, the emperor, or the local baroness might
consume as much as one-fifth of a character’s wealth (although
these expenses can vary considerably from land to land). Representatives of the government usually collect taxes yearly, biannually, or quarterly. Of course, as travelers, adventurers might avoid
most collection periods (and so you can ignore taxes for the PCs if
you want). Those who own land or a residence may find themselves assessed and taxed, however.
Tithes are paid to the church by those who are faithful participants
in a religion. Tithes often amount to as much as one-tenth of a character’s adventuring earnings, but collection is voluntary except in
strict, oppressive religions that have their own tithe collectors. Such
onerous religious taxation requires the support of the government.

Moneychangers
Characters who find their saddlebags full of ancient coin or foreign
money probably need to exchange their wealth for the local currency before they can spend any of it. In a setting in which dozens
of small nations and kingdoms are crowded close together, the
moneychanger is the person at the hub of the economic system.
Typically, a moneychanger charges a fee of one-tenth of the
starting sum in order to convert currency. For example, if a character has a pouch full of 100 platinum pieces (pp) that she needs to
convert to gold pieces, the moneychanger charges 10 pp for the
conversion. The character receives 900 gp, and the moneychanger
keeps the rest.

Supply and Demand
The law of supply and demand can drastically affect the value of any
currency. If characters start flashing around a lot of gold and pumping it into the local economy, merchants may quickly raise prices.
This isn’t a matter of gouging the rich—it’s just the way a small
economy works. A tavernkeeper who makes 100 gp from boarding
a group of successful adventurers spends his newfound wealth just
as the heroes did, and in a small town, everyone starts spending more
in a short time. More spending means higher consumption, so
goods and services become harder to come by, and prices increase.
Supply and demand can also affect the campaign in ways that
don’t have anything directly to do with gold. For instance, if the
local lord commandeered most of the region’s horses for his
knights, then when the PCs decide to purchase half a dozen fine
steeds, they find there aren’t any to be had at a reasonable price.
They have to settle for second-rate nags or spend much more
than they had planned to in order to convince someone to part
with a horse.

POLITICS

140

Intrigue between kingdoms, city-states at war, and political
maneuvering are all fun aspects of many campaigns. For your own
campaign, you at least need to determine who is in charge where.
If there’s any chance that rulers, nobility, and politics in general
will become more involved than that, use the following material
as a starting point. As always, research into real-world political systems and structures (particularly historical examples) can enrich
your fictional setting. At the same time, don’t be afraid to make up
something wholly new and completely nonhistorical.

Political Systems
The number of possible political systems is nearly limitless. Feel
free to use more than one type for different lands. Such mixing
and matching accentuates the differences in place and culture.
Note that any of the political systems listed below might be
matriarchies (ruled only by women) or patriarchies (ruled only by
men), but most make no such distinctions.
Monarchy: Monarchy is rule by a single leader. The monarch
wields supreme power, sometimes even by divine right. Monarchs
belong to royal bloodlines, and successors to the throne are almost
always drawn from blood relatives. Rarely, a monarch rules with
power granted by a mandate of the populace, usually established
through representatives chosen by noble houses. The monarchy is
likely to be the most common political system in your campaign.
Monarchs often have advisors and a court of nobles who work
with them to administer the land. This arrangement creates a class
system of nobles and nonnobles. Common people in such a land
often do not have many of the rights and privileges of the nobility.
Tribal or Clan Structure: A tribe or clan usually has a single
leader who wields great—almost absolute—power like the monarch in a monarchy. Although rulership is often drawn from a
single bloodline, rulers are chosen based on their fitness to govern.
They are also continually judged on this criterion and replaced if
found wanting. Usually a council of elders exists to choose and
judge the leader. In fact, the council is often convened only for this
purpose. Sometimes the council also advises the chief or leader.
Tribes exist as a social structure by grouping together otherwise
disparate family units and uniting them for strength and the advantages of working together. Clans are similar in function but
carry the added distinction of being extended family units. In
both cases, the group usually interacts with other tribes and clans,
and often has particular laws and customs about how certain clans
within a tribe must interact or how the tribe must interact with
other tribes.
Feudalism: Feudalism is a complicated class-based system
with successive layers of lieges and lackeys. It often exists under a
monarchy. Serfs (peasants) work for a landed lord, who in turn
owes fealty to a higher lord, who in turn owes fealty to an even
higher lord, and so on, until the line reaches the supreme liege
lord, who is usually a monarch.
The common people in a feudal state are always lowly and without rights. They are virtually owned by their immediate liege.
Lords are generally free to abuse their power and exploit those
under them as they see fit.
Republic: A republic is a system of government headed by
politicians representing the people. The representatives of a
republic rule as a single body, usually some sort of council or
senate, which votes on issues and policies. Sometimes the representatives are appointed, and sometimes they are elected. The welfare of the people depends solely on the level of corruption among
the representatives. In a mainly good-aligned republic, conditions
can be quite pleasant. An evil republic is as terrible a place to live
as a land under the grip of a tyrant.
In an advanced republic, the people directly elect the representatives. This type of republic is often called a democracy. In such
lands, the right to vote becomes a class-based privilege. Citizenship might be a status that can be bought or earned, it might be
granted automatically to those born in the location governed by
the republic, or it might only transfer via bloodline. Because
having the entire populace vote on representatives is cumbersome, this political system usually works only in small areas, such
as a city-state.
Magocracy: In a magocracy, those who wield arcane magic
have a large amount of political power. The ruler is usually the
most powerful wizard or sorcerer in the land, although sometimes
the ruler is merely a member of a royal bloodline who must be an
arcane spellcaster. Thus, such a system could be a monarchy, and

Human societies run the gamut of different political structures.
Other races seem to favor one or a few over the others.
Dwarves: Dwarves usually form monarchies, although a few
theocracies dedicated to dwarven gods are possible. Dwarves are
extremely lawful and rigid in their politics, fearing lawlessness
and anarchy. They value order and security over personal freedom,
and thus are inclined to judge political matters on what’s best for
the greatest number concerned. Dwarven societies usually have a
strict and exacting code of laws.
Elves: Elves are likely to live within monarchies as well. Of all
races, however, elves are the most likely to adopt a magocracy.
Elves prize individual freedom and fear tyrants. Elf rulers judge
each situation and case individually rather than according to a
strict, codified set of laws.
Gnomes: Gnomes favor small monarchies, although gnome
democracies, gnome republics, and gnome clans exist as well. Like
halflings, gnomes have less need for a strong government and
enjoy personal freedom. Gnome kings and queens usually have
only a small impact on the daily life of their subjects, and they usually do not carry as elevated a status above the common gnome as
a human regent might over her human subjects.
Halflings: Since they are usually nomadic and most often live
in small groups, halflings prefer a sort of tribal or clan system. Rulership is often bestowed upon the eldest member of a group, although most halflings rule with a light touch. True halfling leadership is based around the family unit, with parents giving direction

CAMPAIGNS

Cultural Tendencies

to children. Halflings, more than any other race, seem to naturally
work well with each other. They have little need for a strong ruling
hand or a codified set of laws to maintain order and peace.
Orcs and Other Chaotic Evil Cultures: Orcs are usually too
wild and corrupt to value a strict system of government other than
rule by the strong. Orc leaders rule by intimidation and threats
and thus usually command only a small populace. (Orc nations are
rare.) If an orc leader fails to rule, it is because he was weak. Most
chaotic evil cultures tend to have small populations unless many
individuals are cowed by a single powerful master.
Goblins and Other Lawful Evil Cultures: Goblins live in
tribal communities that bear the trappings of monarchy. The
truth, however, is that their government is rulership by the strong.
If a goblin ruler can be killed, his killer usually takes his place.
Lawful evil humanoids often use a similar system, although
kobolds often establish magocracies, and more sophisticated cultures frequently develop codified laws and rules of succession.
Such complex societies are rife with backstabbing and betrayals,
though, exemplifying the very definition of Byzantine politics.

CHAPTER 5:

the viable heir to the throne would be the oldest member of the
bloodline capable of casting spells. In a true magocracy in which
the ruler is the most powerful spellcaster, the monarch may be
challenged at certain specific times each year by contenders who
believe themselves to be more powerful than she is.
In a magocracy, arcane spellcasters usually have the most rights
and freedoms, and nonspellcasters are looked down upon. Divine
spellcasters sometimes are outlawed, but usually they are treated
as secondary to arcane spellcasters (although still higher in station
than those who cast no spells).
Such societies are often magic-rich. They are likely to have colleges that teach the intricacies of spellcasting, and magic-using
units in their military organizations. They may use magic for even
mundane tasks. Very rarely, a magocracy treats magic in the opposite way, as a closely guarded secret. Nonnoble arcane spellcasters
would then be forbidden.
Theocracy: A theocracy is a political system in which clerics
(or druids) rule. The ruler is the direct representative of the deity
or deities that the theocracy is based upon. Most theocracies are
similar to monarchies, but once a ruler is chosen, he normally
remains in the position for life. The people cannot question the
word of a deity or his representative.
Some theocracies see their leaders as ascending to divinity or
semidivinity in and of themselves. Past (and sometimes present)
rulers are worshiped as deities. Such rulers wield absolute power,
and their bloodline carries the divine right to rule, so their successors are chosen from their descendants. A ruler doesn’t need to be
a cleric in such a case (although he often is), since he is not a
divine representative but a deity. In such a theocracy, it’s possible
that even an infant can be chosen as a ruler if he has divine blood.
Others: It’s not too difficult to imagine a political system based on
rule by other classes, by the oldest, the strongest, or the wealthiest.
For your world, use whatever criteria you wish to determine the
political structure of a group. Most of the time, however, the stranger
the criterion, the smaller the group. For example, a kingdom where
the ruler is determined by a test of skill, intelligence, and stamina
might be expansive, but a land where the ruler is the most talented
bard would probably be small. Being able to play the lute well is
impressive, but it doesn’t necessarily ensure fitness to rule.

High-Level Characters
Sometimes high-level characters build their own castles and establish their own territories. This usually occurs either on land
granted to them by a ruler or in an area of relatively unclaimed
wilderness that they have cleared. A just or generous character is
likely to draw people toward her stronghold or cleared area.
Before she knows it, she’s a ruler.
How the character governs is completely up to her. However, the
NPCs involved will react appropriately to character actions and
decrees. In exchange for protection, plots of land, and fair rulership,
a character can expect to collect taxes or tithes from those she rules.
Neglect, mistreatment, or overtaxation of the populace can lead to a
revolt, which might take the form of an appeal to another more
powerful lord to depose or conquer the character, hired assassins
making attempts against the character’s life, or an outright uprising
in which the peasants wield their pitchforks against their ruler.
In reality, however, such events are rare. More often than not,
people live with the ruler that they have—for good or ill—for a
long time. Those under a poor or unjust ruler will suffer for
months or years before they feel compelled to act.

LEGAL ISSUES
You don’t have to develop a legal code for each country you invent.
Assume common-sense laws are in place. Murder, assault, theft,
and treason are illegal and are punishable by imprisonment or
death. As long as the laws make sense and the authorities are fairly
consistent in enforcing them (or it’s clear why they’re not consistent), the players won’t think twice about the law. Develop a few
unusual laws as points of interest, such as these examples.
• In one barony in the Shield Lands, lying is illegal, punishable
by three days in the pillory.
• In the city of Highfolk, it is against the law to mistreat an animal.
• Anyone wearing red in the sight of the emperor is imprisoned
for one month.
Some places might have laws that directly affect adventurers.
These laws might specify which weapons can be owned or carried
by nonnobles or prohibit the use of some weapons even by
nobles, restricting their use to the royal guard. These laws might
restrict or prohibit magic use. They might limit the number of
well-armed people who can gather publicly without a permit or
sanction. All these laws would be put in place if the ruler or rulers
of the area were concerned about powerful people roaming
around uncontrolled—a legitimate worry to those in power. No
king, duke, or mayor is going to want independent adventurers to
be more powerful than his own guards, lackeys, or troops (and
thus himself ) unless he trusts them absolutely or has some way to
control them.

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SOCIAL CLASSES
Most societies are, to one degree or another, class-based. Use these
easy definitions for the typical society.
Upper Class: Nobles, the wealthiest of merchants, and the most
important leaders (guildmasters, for example) make up the upper
class. Lawmakers, administrators, and other officials are drawn
from this class. Having noble blood or being a member of a wealthy
merchant family allows entrance into the class by birth, while
attaining wealth or significant position can raise one to this status.
By virtue of their wealth, adventurers are likely to rise to the upper class quickly. However, they may be rejected by other members of the upper class based on how society around them views
sword-wielding, spell-slinging, self-governing mercenaries. Other
members of the upper class might look upon adventurers as
heroes, but they are just as likely to look upon them as dangerous
threats to public safety (as well as their personal safety) and to the
existing sociopolitical structure.
Middle Class: Merchants, master artisans, educated professionals, and most significant guild members make up the middle
class. Lesser officials such as tax collectors and town clerks are
sometimes drawn from the middle class. This status is normally
based on one’s occupation and education. Its primary determinant
for membership is not birth, but wealth.
Lower Class: Tradesfolk, journeymen, laborers, subsistence
farmers, impoverished freeholders, personal servants, and virtually everyone else are members of the lower class. Members of the
lower class tend to be poorer and less educated than middle-class
people. While sometimes a council of elders or some similar body
exists to watch over the interests of and argue for the lower class,
most of the time no officials or lawmakers come from these ranks.
Slaves: Some cultures (usually evil ones) practice slavery.
Slaves are lower in station than even members of the lower class.
Though they need not be uneducated or even unskilled, most
slaves are laborers or servants.

MAGIC IN YOUR WORLD

142

Some DMs create cities in their campaigns that function just like
medieval historical towns. They are populated by people who
aren’t accustomed to (or who don’t believe in) magic, who don’t
know anything about magical or mythical monsters, and who
have never seen a magic item.
This sort of creative work is a mistake. It will cause your players
serious strain in their belief in the reality of your world for them
to see that they wield spells and magic items, and the lands and
dungeons surrounding the city are filled with magic and monsters, but yet in the middle of the city everything looks and acts
like Europe during the Middle Ages.
The presence of magic in your game world forces you to deviate
from a truly historical setting. When you create anything for your
world, the idea that magic could possibly alter it should be in the
back of your mind. Would the king simply surround his castle
with a wall when levitate and fly spells are common? How do the
guards of the treasury make sure that someone doesn’t just teleport in or slip through the walls while ethereal?
Unless you are going to run a divergent game of some sort,
magic is prevalent enough in the world that it will always be taken
into account by smart individuals. A merchant wouldn’t be flabbergasted by the idea that someone might try to steal from her
while invisible. A swindler would be aware that someone might
be able to detect his thoughts or his lies.
Magic shouldn’t be something that common people are
unaware of. Spellcasters may be fairly rare in the big picture, but
they’re common enough that people know that when Uncle Rufus
falls off the back of the wagon, they could take him to the temple
to have the priests heal the wound (although the average peasant
probably couldn’t afford the price). Only the most isolated farmer
might not see magic or the results of magic regularly.

Here are a few points to consider when fitting magic into your
world.
• A tavern frequented by adventurers might have a “No detections” sign above the bar to allow the patrons to relax in an
atmosphere where they don’t need to worry about someone
discerning their alignments, reading their thoughts, figuring
which of their items are magical, and so on.
• Merchants might jointly employ a small squad of wizards who
wander about the marketplace invisibly while watching for
thieves, casting detect thoughts on suspicious characters, and
using see invisibility to look for magic-using robbers.
• The town guard might employ a spellcaster or two (or more) to
supplement its defensive strength, deal with unruly spellcasters, and help facilitate interrogations.
• A court might use detect thoughts or discern lies to help make accurate judgments in important cases.
• A town might use simple spells to make life easier, such as
continual flame to make a sort of streetlight. Very sophisticated
or wealthy cities might use magic portals to dispose of sewage
and carpets of flying to deliver urgent messages.

Magic Items
The magic items described in Chapter 7 all have prices. The assumption is that, while they are rare, magic items can be bought
and sold as any other commodity can be. The prices given are far
beyond the reach of almost everyone, but the very rich, including
mid- to high-level PCs, can buy and sell these items or even have
spellcasters make them to order. In very large cities, some shops
might specialize in magic items if their clientele is very wealthy or
includes a large number of adventurer (and such shops would
have lots of magical protections to ward away thieves). Magic
items might even be available in normal markets and shops occasionally. For example, a weaponsmith might have a few magic
weapons for sale along with her normal wares.

Superstitions
Just because magic works and most people are aware of it doesn’t
mean they know exactly how it works or when it’s in effect. Superstitions (ritual activity that doesn’t produce actual results) are still
likely to be common. To add some flavor to your world and provide
details that convey both the quirks and underlying fears and concerns of a society, invent some superstitions (or adapt some from
the real world). Consider the following ideas to get you started.
• Common folk believe that particular charms and trinkets sold
by a vendor are lucky, when actually they have no magical
power (such as a rabbit’s foot in the real world).
• In some cultures, special hand signs or spoken words are obligatory in certain situations (such as saying “Gesundheit!” after a
sneeze).
• Someone claims to be able to see omens in the movements of
birds. Does he have a good reputation because he tells superstitious people what they want to hear, or because he actually has
some sort of magical ability?

Restrictions on Magic
In some civilized areas, the use of magic might be restricted or
prohibited. A license might be required, or perhaps official permission from the local ruler would enable a spellcaster to use his
powers, but without such permission, magic use is forbidden. In
such a place, magic items and in-place magical effects are rare, but
protections against magic might not be.
Some localities might prohibit specific spells. It could be a crime
to cast any spells used to steal or swindle, such as those that bestow
invisibility or produce illusions. Enchantments (particularly charm
spells, compulsion effects, suggestion spells, and domination effects)
tend to be readily forbidden, since they rob their subjects of free
will. Destructive spells are likewise prohibited, for obvious reason.

A local ruler could have a phobia about a specific effect or spell
(such as polymorph effects if she were afraid of being impersonated)
and enact a law restricting that type of magic.

RELIGION

As an example, here’s how the religions of the deities presented in
the Player’s Handbook fit into society.
Boccob: Boccob’s priesthood is usually a somber group that
takes its pursuit of knowledge and arcana very seriously. The clerics of the Archmage of the Deities wear purple robes with gold
trim. Rather than meddle in public affairs and politics, they keep
to themselves and their own agendas.
Corellon Larethian: Clergy members who serve the Creator of the Elves operate as defenders and champions of their
race. They often serve as leaders and settle disputes in elven
communities.
Ehlonna: The clergy of Ehlonna are hearty woodsfolk. Her
clerics wear pale green robes and are quick to protect the woodlands against all threats.
Erythnul: The priesthood of Erythnul maintains a low profile
in most civilized lands. In savage areas, members of the priesthood
are known as bullies and murderous tyrants. Many evil
humanoids worship Erythnul, but their priests do not cooperate
with each other to advance the overall goals of the religion. Clerics
of Erythnul favor rust-red garments or blood-stained robes.
Fharlanghn: Fharlanghn’s clerics are wanderers who seek to
help fellow travelers. Fharlanghn’s clerics dress in nondescript
brown or green clothing, and they move around frequently. A traveler who comes to one of Fharlanghn’s wayside shrines, which are
common along most well-used roads, won’t find a particular cleric
watching over a particular shrine more than once.
Garl Glittergold: Clerics of Garl Glittergold serve gnome communities as educators and protectors. They teach the young valuable gnome lore and skills using a light-handed humor. They also
protect their fellow gnomes, ever watchful of the forces of evil
humanoids that might threaten their community.
Gruumsh: Gruumsh, the evil god of the orcs, maintains a religion based on intimidation and fear. His clerics strive to become
chieftains of orc tribes or advisors to the chief. Many pluck out
one of their own eyes to emulate their deity.
Heironeous: The religious hierarchy of Heironeous is organized like a military order. It has a clear chain of command, lines of
supply, and well-stocked armories. Clerics of Heironeous fight
against worshipers of Hextor whenever they can and spend the rest
of their time protecting the civilized lands from the threats of evil.
Hextor: Strength and power govern Hextor’s priesthood. Although evil, it is not as secretive as other dark religions. Temples of
Hextor operate openly in many cities. Clerics of Hextor wear
black clothing adorned with skulls or gray faces.

CAMPAIGNS

The Pantheon and the Campaign Setting

CHAPTER 5:

No force affects society more strongly than religion. You need to
match the religions in your world with the societies you present.
How does the priesthood interact with the populace? What do most
people think of the religion, the deity, or the clerics? Most of the time,
in addition to serving a deity, a religion is geared toward filling some
niche in society: recordkeeping, officiating at ceremonies, judging
disputes, tending the poor or sick, defending the community, educating the young, keeping knowledge, preserving customs, and so on.
Sometimes a religious hierarchy is not unified. You can create
interesting political intrigues by placing different factions of clerics of the same deity in opposition based on doctrine or approach
(or even alignment). Different orders within the priesthood might
be distinguished by different choices of domains. A deity that offers access to the Good, Knowledge, Law, and War domains might
have clerics of law and war (the justifiers) opposing those of good
and knowledge (the prophets).

Kord: Kord’s clerics value strength, but not domination. Kord’s
temples sometimes resemble warrior feasthalls, and his clerics,
who favor red and white garb, often seem more like fighters.
Moradin: Moradin’s clerics preside over most formal ceremonies in dwarven culture, keep genealogical records, educate
the young, and serve as part of the defense force of a community.
Nerull: The Reaper is feared across the lands. His rust-red
garbed clerics are murderous psychopaths who work in secret,
plotting against all that is good. They have no overall hierarchy,
and they even work against each other at times.
Obad-Hai: Clerics of Obad-Hai have no hierarchy. They treat
all those of their order as equals. They wear russet-colored clothing and maintain hidden woodland shrines that are usually
located far from civilization. They keep to the wilderness and to
themselves, rarely getting involved in society.
Olidammara: Olidammara’s religion is loosely organized at
best, and few temples are dedicated solely to him. That said, his
clerics are numerous. They usually work among urban folk or
wander the countryside. Olidammara’s clerics often work at some
other profession, in addition to operating as clerics (typically serving as minstrels, brewers, or jacks-of-all-trades), and thus can be
found almost anywhere doing or wearing anything.
Pelor: The clerics of the Shining One work to aid the poor and
the sick, and thus most common folk look upon them with great
favor. Pelor’s temples are sanctuaries for the impoverished and diseased, and his yellow-robed clerics are usually kind, quiet folk,
roused only in their opposition against evil.
St. Cuthbert: The no-nonsense order of St. Cuthbert does not
suffer fools gladly or abide evil in any way. His clerics concern
themselves with the needs of the common people over nobles or
the well educated. They are zealous in their desire to convert
others to their faith and quick to destroy their opponents.
Vecna: Vecna’s priesthood is made up of isolated cells of cultists
who seek dark, arcane secrets to further their evil schemes. Black
and red are the clerics’ favored colors.
Wee Jas: Wee Jas’s priesthood has a strict hierarchy. Her clerics
are known for their discipline and obedience to their superiors.
They work as officiators at funerals, maintain graveyards, or operate libraries of arcane lore. They wear black or gray robes.
Yondalla: Yondalla’s clerics help other halflings lead safe, prosperous lives by following her guidance. They often serve as community leaders.

Creating New Deities
You can create your own deities and religions. You’re free to set
them up however you please. Deities can exist as individuals or as
a unified pantheon that interacts all the time.
Each deity should have a portfolio, which describes a sphere or
spheres of influence. Elements of a portfolio can be concepts such
as peace or death, events such as war or famine, elements such as
fire or water, activities such as travel or entertainment, types of
people or professions such as wizards or smiths, as well as races,
alignments, places, or outlooks. Deities with similar portfolios
may work together or may be in conflict, depending on their
alignments and respective power.
The domains that a cleric of a deity can choose from should
always be based on the deity’s portfolio. In general, it’s appropriate
to assign no more than four domains to any deity. However, some
deities might need more that four domains to represent the
breadth of their dominion, while others might need just two or
three, if they are very focused.
Polytheism is the assumption in the baseline D UNGEONS &
DRAGONS setting. You could create a monotheistic world, but a
strong, singular religion probably wields great political and sociological power (such as what occurred in Europe during the Dark
Ages), which is a change with serious implications that might
ripple throughout your entire campaign setting.

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BUILDING A
DIFFERENT WORLD

CAMPAIGNS

CHAPTER 5:

The rules in the previous section leave a lot of room for flexibility
when it comes to creating your world. However, they assume a few
basic aspects: a medieval level of technology, a Western European
flavor, and a moderately historical basis. You might want to reach
beyond these boundaries and create a very different sort of world.

SOCIETY/CULTURE
You can deviate from the typical campaign simply by changing the
cultural basis of the real-world history upon which it is modeled.
Establishing an African, Mesoamerican, or Arabian campaign can
be rewarding and entertaining. Don’t, however, feel limited by the
culture you have chosen. If you don’t like the fact that most historical African warriors didn’t wear metal armor, ignore it. Though
the default cultural assumption for most D&D game worlds is
medieval Europe, most of those worlds deviate widely from history, too. Don’t forget all the other basic factors of setting design
mentioned earlier, either. Lots of magic that actually works will
change an Arabian campaign as much as a European one.

cial training; thus, it is an exotic weapon. A Medium creature can
use a katana two-handed as a martial weapon, or a Large creature
can use it one-handed in the same way. With Exotic Weapon Proficiency (katana), a Medium creature can use it in one hand. A
masterwork weapon’s bonus on attack rolls does not stack with an
enhancement bonus on attack rolls.
Other Asian Elements: The DM designs her world, filling it with
feudal lords who each serve a more powerful lord above them and
rule over the people below them in station. Monasteries are common,
with monks serving alongside clerics as representatives of spiritual
enlightenment. Certain arts, such as poetry, theater, and fine art, take
on a greater importance in society (which is ironic, since she has done
away with the bard), and so entertainment becomes a skill that almost
every character needs to succeed in this campaign.

TECHNOLOGY
Technology defines a setting as much as culture does. If gunpowder is available, the world changes. Suddenly, a commoner with a
rifle is a serious threat to an armored soldier, and high castle walls
are no longer proof against invasion, which makes people, in turn,
less elitist and isolationist.

Extremely Low Tech
Asian Culture

144

As an extended example, assume a DM decides that she wants to
create a campaign setting based not on Western culture, but Asian.
Specifically, she wants to tailor her creation (in tone and look) to
feudal Japan and ancient China. She decides not to change the PC
race selections but disallows anyone from taking bard as a class,
ruling that it’s strictly Western. She changes the name of the paladin
class to samurai, and she adjusts the powers of the class to have a nonreligious basis by basing the class’s special abilities instead on inner
ki power. She designs new classes for ninjas, wu jen, and kensai.
Taking a look at the weapon, armor, and equipment lists in
Chapter 7 of the Player’s Handbook, she sees that most of that material fits her needs, but she adds a number of weapons that she finds
in her research (detailed on Table 5–3: Asian Weapons).
Asian Weapons: All the weapons on Table 7–5: Weapons in the
Player’s Handbook (page 116) work with an Asian campaign. In
particular, the dagger, trident, shuriken, kama, nunchaku, siangham, kukri, halfspear, shortspear, longspear, handaxe, shortbow,
composite shortbow, composite longbow, quarterstaff, light flail,
light crossbow, sickle, scythe, club, and battleaxe are appropriate.
The new weapons on Table 5–3: Asian Weapons are detailed below.
Blowgun: This weapon is used to propel small needles a long distance. It is silent, and its needles most often are used to poison foes.
Needles, Blowgun: These 2-inch-long iron needles are sold in
small wooden cases of 20. A full case is so light that its weight is
negligible. The tips of the needles are often coated with poison
such as greenblood oil, bloodroot, blue whinnis, shadow essence,
or deathblade.
Wakizashi: This small, slightly curved short sword is made with
a skill only masterful weaponsmiths possess. It counts as a masterwork weapon and grants its wielder a +1 bonus on attack rolls. A
masterwork weapon’s bonus on attack rolls does not stack with an
enhancement bonus on attack rolls.
Kusari-Gama: This small sickle is attached to a length of chain.
A kusari-gama is an exotic weapon that has reach. It can strike
opponents 10 feet away. In addition, unlike other weapons with
reach, it can be used against an adjacent foe. It can be used in all
respects like a spiked chain (see page 115 of the Player’s Handbook)
for trip attacks, disarming other foes, and using its wielder’s Dexterity modifier instead of her Strength modifier in attack rolls.
Katana: While functionally a bastard sword, this sword is the
most masterfully made nonmagical weapon in existence. It counts
as a masterwork weapon and grants its wielder a +1 bonus on
attack rolls. A katana is too large to use in one hand without spe-

A campaign set in a Bronze Age world where weapons are more
crude and armor is less advanced, or even an Ice Age/Stone Age
world where metal is barely available (if at all), can be very interesting. In such a campaign, survival often becomes a central focus,
since finding food and keeping warm are suddenly much more
difficult. There might not be shops from which to obtain goods
(particularly in an Ice Age/Stone Age campaign) or even safe
places to spend the night. Killing a huge beast means not only victory, it also means meat to eat, fur or skin to wear, and bones to
fashion into weapons and tools.
Stone Age: Attacks with weapons made of bone or stone have a
–2 penalty on attack and damage rolls (with a minimum damage
of 1). Stone-age cultures don’t make bone or stone chainmail—
they use leather, padded, wood, or bone armor. Historically, only a
few exceptions to this rule exist, and those forms of armor are all
made of bronze.
Bone has hardness 6 and 10 hit points per inch of thickness.
Stone has hardness 8 and 15 hit points per inch of thickness.
Bronze Age: Weapons of bronze, while clearly inferior to steel
items, are not nearly as bad as stone or bone weapons. Attacks with
weapons made of bronze have a –1 penalty on attack and damage rolls
(with a minimum damage of 1). Bronze shields have the same protective value as steel shields, and their cost and weight are the same. A
bronze shield has hardness 9 (compared to iron’s 10), however. A
small bronze shield has 7 hit points, and a large bronze shield has 14
hit points. While the relative softness of bronze diminishes its usefulness in weapons, it allows elaborately sculpted bronze breastplates. A
bronze breastplate’s armor bonus is 1 lower than a steel breastplate’s
(+4), but its maximum Dexterity bonus is 1 higher (also +4).
Bronze has hardness 9 and 20 hit points per inch of thickness.

Advancing the Technology Level
Conversely, a DM could advance the pseudohistorical basis for the
game a few hundred years and set his campaign in a Renaissancestyle setting. Doing this would allow him to incorporate weapons
and maybe a few more bits of equipment from a little later in history. Clocks, hot air balloons, printing presses, and even crude
steam engines might be available. Most important to PCs, however, would be the new weapons (see Table 5–4: Renaissance
Weapons), which are detailed below
Renaissance Firearms: Firearms should be treated like other
ranged projectile weapons. Exotic Weapon Proficiency (firearms)
gains a creature proficiency with all firearms; otherwise, a –4
penalty is assessed on all attack rolls.

Table 5–3: Asian Weapons
Critical

Range Increment

Weight

×2
—

10 ft.
—

2 lb.

19–20/×2

—

3 lb.

Slashing

×2

—

3 lb.

Slashing

19–20/×2

—

6 lb.

Slashing

1

Damage Type
Piercing
—

CAMPAIGNS

CHAPTER 5:

Simple Weapons
Cost
Dmg (S)
Dmg (M)
Ranged Weapons
Blowgun
1 gp
1
1
Needles, blowgun (20)
1 gp
—
Martial Weapons
Light Melee Weapons
Wakizashi2
300 gp
1d4
1d6
Exotic Weapons
Light Melee Weapons
Kusari-gama3
10 gp
1d4
1d6
One-Handed Melee Weapons
Katana4
400 gp
1d8
1d10
1 No weight worth noting.
2 Except as indicated, treat a wakizashi as a masterwork short sword.
3 Reach weapon.
4 Except as indicated, treat a katana as a masterwork bastard sword.

Table 5–4: Renaissance Weapons
Exotic Weapons (Firearms)
One-Handed Ranged Weapons
Pistol
Two-Handed Ranged Weapons
Musket

Cost

Dmg (S)

Dmg (M)

Critical

Range Increment

Weight

250 gp

1d8

1d10

×3

50 ft.

3 lb.

Piercing

500 gp

1d10

1d12

×3

150 ft.

10 lb.

Piercing

Weight
1 lb.
1 lb.

Damage Type
Fire
—

Explosive Weapons1
Cost
Damage
Bomb
150 gp
2d6
Smoke bomb
70 gp
Smoke
1 Bombs and smoke bombs require no proficiency to use.

Blast Radius
5 ft.

Gunpowder: While gunpowder burns (1 ounce consumes itself
in 1 round and illuminates like a sunrod) or even explodes in the
right conditions, it is chiefly used to propel a bullet out of the
barrel of a pistol or a rifle, or it is formed into a bomb (see below).
An ounce of gunpowder is needed to propel a bullet. Gunpowder
is sold in small kegs (15-pound capacity, 20 pounds total weight,
250 gp each) and in water-resistant powder horns (2-pound capacity and total weight, 35 gp for a full powder horn). If gunpowder
gets wet, it cannot be used to fire a bullet.
Bullets: These large, round, lead projectiles are sold in bags of 10
for 3 gp. A bag of bullets weighs 2 pounds..
Pistol: This firearm holds a single shot and requires a standard
action to reload.
Musket: The musket holds a single shot and requires a standard
action to reload.
Renaissance Explosive Weapons: These explosives require
no proficiency to use. Scoring a hit with one of these weapons
requires a successful ranged touch attack aimed at a square. A
direct hit with an explosive weapon means that the weapon has hit
the creature it was aimed at and everyone within the blast radius,
including that creature, takes the indicated damage.
If the explosive misses, it still lands somewhere. Roll 1d8 to
determine the misdirection of the throw, with 1 indicating the
direction back toward the thrower and 2 through 8 counting
clockwise around the target square. (See the diagram on page 158
of the Player’s Handbook.) Then, count 1 square away from the
target square for every two range increments of the attack.
Bomb: This round gunpowder bomb must be lit before it is
thrown. Lighting a bomb is a move action. The explosive deals 2d6
points of fire damage. Anyone caught within the blast radius can
make a DC 15 Reflex save to take half damage.
Smoke Bomb: This cylindrical bomb must be lit before it is
thrown. Lighting it is a move action. Two rounds after it is lit, this
nondamaging explosive emits a cloud of smoke (as a fog cloud
spell) in a 20-foot radius. A moderate wind (11+ mph) disperses
the smoke in 4 rounds; a strong wind (21+ mph) disperses the fog
in 1 round.

Range Increment
10 ft.
2
10 ft.
2 See description.

Damage Type

Modern and Future Technology
You could create a setting with high technology. Perhaps a starship
from a much more highly advanced civilization landed or crashed
in the campaign world. The crash might have happened long ago,
so that now the starship is a mysterious, specialized dungeon setting in its own right, with a special sort of magic (advanced technology) and monsters (aliens and robots that survived the crash).
Or perhaps the advanced civilization was native to the campaign
world but is now long gone, leaving behind remnants of its
ancient cities filled with strange secrets, which now form sites for
adventures. In such a campaign, you could decide that many of the
strange creatures found in the world result from ancient genetic
engineering. Finally, perhaps members of some advanced civilization have come to the campaign world with their advanced science and now serve as patrons or overlords. They dole out their
technology in small doses to those who serve them well.
No matter what rationale you use to place high-tech items in
your game, they should always be like very rare magic items or
artifacts—difficult or impossible to reproduce. Treating them as
artifacts (see page 277) is most appropriate. They shouldn’t dominate the game, but should serve as an occasional diversion. It’s fun
for some players when their characters occasionally use a big gun
against a dragon rather than a sword, and it’s an interesting diversion to run into a warbot in a dungeon rather than a band of trolls.
But in a fantasy game, most players don’t want to do that every day.
Some advanced technological weapons are detailed below.
These weapons have no costs provided, because they cannot be
manufactured. They can only be found as artifacts.
These weapon statistics also show how to rate something in
your game that you might not know how to handle. Since you
probably have a good idea what a pistol is like, or a laser, you can
deal with such situations on firmer ground. For example, you
might want to develop a trap that fires large needles rapidly. You
could use the statistics for an automatic rifle or extrapolate from
them to get what you want. When explaining the trap, you could
even describe it to the players as resembling a machine gun to
help them understand it.

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CHAPTER 5:

Table 5–5: Modern Era Weapons
Exotic Weapons (Firearms)
Dmg (S)
Dmg (M)
Critical
Range Increment
One-Handed Ranged Weapons
Pistol, automatic
2d4
2d6
×2
40 ft.
Revolver
2d6
2d8
×2
30 ft.
Two-Handed Ranged Weapons
Rifle, hunting
2d8
2d10
×2
80 ft.
Rifle, automatic
2d6
2d8
×2
80 ft.
Shotgun
2d6
2d8
×2
30 ft.
1
1
Grenade launcher
—
70 ft.
1 Fires fragmentation grenades or smoke grenades; see the Explosive Weapons table, below.

Weight

Explosive Weapons1
Damage
Dynamite
3d62
Grenade, fragmentation
4d6
Grenade, smoke
Smoke
1 Dynamite and grenades require no proficiency to use.
2 See description.

Range Increment
10 ft.
10 ft.
10 ft.

Weight
1 lb.
1 lb.
2 lb.

Damage Type
Bludgeoning
Slashing
—

Damage Type

Blast Radius
5 ft.2
20 ft.
20 ft.

Damage Type

3 lb.
3 lb.

Piercing
Piercing

8 lb.
8 lb.
7 lb.
7 lb.

Piercing
Piercing
Piercing
—

Table 5–6: Futuristic Weapons
Exotic Weapons (Firearms)
One-Handed Ranged Weapons
Laser pistol
Two-Handed Ranged Weapons
Antimatter rifle
Flamer
Laser rifle
1 See description.

146

Dmg (S)

Dmg (M)

Critical

Range Increment

Weight

3d4

3d6

×2

40 ft.

2 lb.

—

6d6
3d41
3d6

6d8
3d61
3d8

×2
—
×2

120 ft.
20 ft.
100 ft.

10 lb.
8 lb.
7 lb.

—
Fire
—

The d20 MODERN® Roleplaying Game, a D&D-compatible roleplaying game for present-day adventures, contains a much more
extensive treatment of firearms and other high-tech gear.
Modern Era Firearms: Firearms should be treated like other
ranged projectile weapons. The Exotic Weapon Proficiency
(firearms) feat gives a creature proficiency with all firearms; otherwise, a –4 penalty is assessed on all attack rolls.
Ammunition: Modern era firearms use bullets essentially similar
to those used in Remaissance firearms. Ten bullets weigh 1 pound,
and a magazine that holds bullets for an automatic weapon weighs
1/2 pound.
The new weapons on Table 5–5: Modern Era Weapons are
detailed below.
Pistol, Automatic: An automatic pistol can fire fifteen times
before reloading and can be used to attack more than once per
round if the user has the ability to make multiple attacks. Releasing an empty magazine and inserting a new one is a move action.
Pistol, Revolver: A revolver can fire six times before it needs
reloading (which requires a full-round action).
Rifle, Hunting: A hunting rifle can fire five times before it needs
reloading (which requires a full-round action).
Rifle, Automatic: An automatic rifle can fire thirty times before it
needs reloading. Releasing an empty magazine and inserting a
new one is a move action. As an attack, an automatic rifle can
instead spray a space 10 feet across with ten bullets. If the attacker
succeeds on an attack roll against AC 10, everyone in that space
must make a DC 15 Reflex save or take the weapon’s damage.
Shotgun: A shotgun is most effective at close range; on any successful attack, a –1 penalty is applied to the damage roll for each
range increment of the attack. It can fire six times before it needs
reloading (which requires a full-round action). The weapon uses
shotgun shells, cylindrical cartridges that have a built-in firing cap
at their base. They are packed with a mixture of gunpowder and
small lead pellets.
Grenade Launcher: A grenade launcher can fire fragmentation or
smoke grenades using its range increment, but must be reloaded
each time it fires, requiring a standard action. A grenade launcher
is a tube set on a metal tripod and equipped with a sighting mech-

anism. A single smoke grenade or fragmentation grenade easily
slips into the tube.
Modern Era Explosive Weapons: These explosive grenadelike weapons work just like Renaissance grenadelike weapons (see
above). for determining how attacks are made and what happens if
the weapon misses its target.
Dynamite: This short, thin cylinder of explosive material has a
fuse that must be lit before it is thrown or set. Lighting a stick of
dynamite is a move action, and the dynamite goes off in the same
round or up to several minutes later (depending on how long the
fuse is). The explosive has a blast radius of 5 feet and deals 2d6
points of bludgeoning damage. Anyone caught within the blast
radius can make a DC 15 Reflex save to take half damage.
It’s possible to bind together several sticks of dynamite so they
ignite and explode at the same time. Each additional stick increases the damage by 1d6 (maximum damage 10d6) and the burst
radius by 5 feet (maximum burst radius 20 feet).
Grenade, Fragmentation: A fragmentation grenade looks like a
large egg, sometimes mounted on a 1-foot-long stick with small
fins. If thrown, it uses its range increment, but if launched from a
grenade launcher, it uses that weapon’s range increment. Fragmentation grenades are advanced antipersonnel explosives that
deal slashing damage in a 20-foot radius. Anyone caught within
the blast radius can make a DC 15 Reflex save to take half damage.
Grenade, Smoke: A smoke grenade looks like a squat cylinder,
sometimes mounted on a 1-foot-long stick with small fins. If
thrown, it uses its range increment, but if launched from a
grenade launcher, it uses that weapon’s range increment. One
round after it lands or hits its target, this nondamaging explosive
emits a cloud of smoke (as the fog cloud spell) in a 20-foot radius. A
moderate wind (11+ mph) disperses the smoke in 4 rounds; a
strong wind (21+ mph) disperses the fog in 1 round.
Futuristic Weapons: Futuristic weapons are like other ranged
projectile weapons, though the type of damage they deal is special.
The Exotic Weapon Proficiency (futuristic) feat gives a creature
proficiency with all futuristic weapons; otherwise, a –4 penalty is
assessed on all attack rolls.
The new weapons on Table 5–6: are detailed below.

When characters reach higher levels, their grasp extends to other
dimensions of reality—or, as we call them, planes of existence.
The PCs may rescue a friend from the evil depths of the Abyss, or
sail the shining waters of the River Oceanus. They might hoist a
tankard with the friendly giants of Ysgard, or face the chaos of
Limbo to reach a wizened githzerai sage.
The planes of existence in the D&D game world make up the
D&D cosmology, which is the topic of this section. These planes
are strange and usually dangerous environments; the strangest of
them are as unlike the so-called “real world” as any place can be.
While planar adventures can be dangerous, they can be wondrous
as well. The characters might visit a plane composed entirely of
solid fire, or test their mettle on a battlefield where the fallen are
resurrected with each dawn.
Because the spells required to reach other planes are all 6th
level and higher, planar adventures are almost exclusively the
province of high-level PCs. Not only are the other planes full of
powerful outsiders and elementals, but the planes themselves
have deadly environments that only well-prepared adventurers
can withstand.
The D&D cosmology has twenty-seven different planes of existence, offering everything from the normality of the Material
Plane (the real world) to the serenity of the Astral Plane to the pervasive evil of the Nine Hells. This section details the traits and characteristics that certain planes have in common and features a short
description of each plane that includes a possible adventure site.

WHAT IS A PLANE?
The planes of existence are different realities with interwoven connections. Except for rare linking points, each plane is effectively its
own universe with its own natural laws. The planes are home to
more powerful variations of familiar creatures and unique monsters, all of which have adapted to their strange environments.
The planes break down into a number of general types: the
Material Plane, the Transitive Planes, the Inner Planes, the Outer
Planes, and the demiplanes.
Material Plane: This plane is the one most familiar to characters and is usually the “home base” for a standard D&D campaign.
The Material Plane tends to be the most Earthlike of all planes and
operates under the same set of natural laws that our own real
world does. Even though the Material Plane is a comfortable place
for PCs, it is a strange and dangerous environment for many creatures that are native to other planes but find themselves on the
Material Plane at least temporarily (perhaps as the result of a
summon monster spell or similar magic).

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ADVENTURING
ON OTHER PLANES

Transitive Planes: These three planes have one important
common characteristic: Each is used to get from one place to
another. The Astral Plane is a conduit to all other planes, while the
Ethereal Plane and the Plane of Shadow both serve as means of
transportation within the Material Plane they’re connected to.
These planes have the strongest regular interaction with the Material Plane and are often accessed by using various spells. They have
native inhabitants as well.
Inner Planes: These six planes are manifestations of the basic
building blocks of the universe. Each is made up of a single type of
energy or element that overwhelms all others. The natives of a particular Inner Plane are made of the same energy or element as the
plane itself.
Outer Planes: The deities live on the Outer Planes, as do creatures such as celestials, demons, and devils. Each of the seventeen
Outer Planes has an alignment, representing a particular moral or
ethical outlook, and the natives of each plane tend to behave in
agreement with that plane’s alignment. The Outer Planes are also
the final resting place of souls from the Material Plane, whether
that final rest takes the form of calm introspection or eternal
damnation.
Demiplanes: This catch-all category covers all extradimensional spaces that function like planes but have measurable size
and limited access. Other kinds of planes are theoretically infinite
in size, but a demiplane might be only a few hundred feet across.
Access to demiplanes may be limited to particular locations (such
as a fixed gateway) or particular situations (such as a time of year
or a weather condition). Some demiplanes are created by powerful
magic, some naturally evolve, and some appear according to the
will of the deities.
In the D&D cosmology, also known as the Great Wheel, the
planes are connected in a specific fashion, as depicted in the diagram on page 153. (The diagram does not show demiplanes,
because the location and even the existence of these extradimensional spaces is constantly changing.)

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Laser Pistol: A laser pistol fires fifty times before a new energy
cell (weight 1 pound) needs to be reloaded and has a rate of fire
equal to the attacker’s number of attacks. Reloading the weapon is
a move action.
Antimatter Rifle: An antimatter rifle is a devastating short-range
attack weapon that can be fired once per round. It holds an energy
cell (weight 1 pound) that is depleted after two shots. Reloading
the weapon is a move action.
Laser Rifle: A laser rifle fires thirty times before a new energy
cell (weight 1 pound) needs to be reloaded and has a rate of fire
equal to the attacker’s number of attacks. Reloading the weapon is
a move action.
Flamer: A flamer can be fired once per round. Unlike other
ranged weapons, it deals damage to every square in a 5-foot-wide
stream extending out to the flamer’s maximum range (200 feet). It
contains a fuel pack with enough concentrated flamer fuel for ten
shots. Installing a new fuel pack requires a full-round action.

PLANAR TRAITS
Each plane of existence has its own properties—the natural laws
of its universe.
Planar traits are broken down into a number of general areas.
All planes have the following kinds of traits.
Physical Traits: These traits determine the laws of physics and
nature on the plane, including how gravity and time function.
Elemental and Energy Traits: These traits determine the
dominance of particular elemental or energy forces.
Alignment Traits: Just as characters may be lawful neutral or
chaotic good, many planes are tied to a particular moral or ethical
outlook.
Magic Traits: Magic works differently from plane to plane, and
magic traits set the boundaries for what it can and can’t do.

Physical Traits
The two most important natural laws set by physical traits are how
gravity works and how time passes. Other physical traits pertain to
the size and shape of a plane and how easily a plane’s nature can be
altered.
Gravity: The direction of gravity’s pull may be unusual, and it
might even change directions within the plane itself.
Normal Gravity: Most planes have gravity similar to that of the
Material Plane. That is, if something weighs 10 pounds on the
Material Plane, it weighs 10 pounds on the other plane as well. The
usual rules for ability scores, carrying capacity, and encumbrance
apply. Unless otherwise noted in a description, every plane in the
D&D cosmology has the normal gravity trait.
Heavy Gravity: The gravity on a plane with this trait is much more
intense than on the Material Plane. As a result, Balance, Climb,
Jump, Ride, Swim, and Tumble checks incur a –2 circumstance

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penalty, as do all attack rolls. All item weights are effectively
doubled, which might affect a character’s speed. Weapon ranges are
halved. A character’s Strength and Dexterity scores are not affected.
Characters who fall on a heavy gravity plane take 1d10 points of
damage for each 10 feet fallen, to a maximum of 20d10 points of
damage.
No Gravity: Individuals on a plane with this trait merely float in
space, unless other resources (such as magic or force of will) are
available to provide a direction for gravity’s pull.
Objective Directional Gravity: The strength of gravity on a plane
with this trait is the same as on the Material Plane, but the direction is not the traditional “down” toward the ground. It may be
down toward any solid object, at an angle to the surface of the
plane itself, or even upward, creating a chandelierlike world
where everyone has to hang on or be thrown out into the void.
In addition, objective directional gravity may change from
place to place. The direction of “down” may vary, so individuals
may suddenly find themselves falling upward (similar to the
reverse gravity spell) or walking up walls.
Travelers on planes with objective directional gravity tend to be
cautious. No one wants to discover the hard way that the 100-foot
corridor ahead has become a 100-foot-deep pit.
Subjective Directional Gravity: The strength of gravity on a plane
with this trait is the same as on the Material Plane, but each individual chooses the direction of gravity’s pull. Such a plane has no
gravity for unattended objects and nonsentient creatures. This
sort of environment can be very disorienting to the newcomer,
but is common on “weightless” planes such as the Plane of Air.
Characters on a plane with subjective directional gravity can
move normally along a solid surface by imagining “down” near
their feet. If suspended in midair, a character “flies” by merely
choosing a “down” direction and “falling” that way. Under such a
procedure, an individual “falls” 150 feet in the first round and 300
feet in each succeeding round. Movement is straight-line only. In
order to stop, one has to slow one’s movement by changing the
designated “down” direction (again, moving 150 feet in the new
direction in the first round and 300 feet per round thereafter).
It takes a DC 16 Wisdom check to set a new direction of gravity
as a free action; this check can be made once per round. Any character who fails this Wisdom check in successive rounds receives a
+6 bonus on subsequent checks until he or she succeeds.
Time: The rate of time’s passage can vary on different planes,
though it remains constant within any particular plane. Time
becomes interesting when one moves from plane to plane, but it
still moves at the same apparent rate for the traveler.
In other words, time is always subjective for the viewer. If
someone is magically frozen in place for a year, at the end of that
time he or she thinks mere seconds have passed. But to everyone
else, a year has elapsed.
The same subjectivity applies to various planes. Travelers may
discover that they’ll pick up or lose time while moving among the
planes, but from their point of view, time always passes naturally.
Normal Time: This trait describes the way time passes on the
Material Plane. One hour on a plane with normal time equals one
hour on the Material Plane. Unless otherwise noted in a description, every plane in the D&D cosmology has the normal time trait.
Timeless: On planes with this trait, time still passes, but the
effects of time are diminished. See the description of the Astral
Plane, page 154, for an example of how the timeless trait can affect
certain activities or conditions such as hunger, thirst, aging, the
effects of poison, and healing.
The danger of a timeless plane is that once one leaves such a
plane for one where time flows normally, conditions such as
hunger and aging do occur retroactively. A character who hasn’t
eaten for ten years on a timeless plane might be ravenous (though
not dead), and one who has been “stuck” at age twenty for fifty
years might now reach age seventy in a heartbeat. Traditional tales

of folklore tell of places where heroes live hundreds of years, only
to crumble to dust as soon as they leave.
Shape and Size: Planes come in a variety of sizes and shapes.
Most planes (including all of those in the D&D cosmology) are
infinite, or at least so large that they may as well be infinite.
Infinite: Planes with this trait go on forever, though they may
have finite components within them (such as spherical worlds).
Or they may consist of ongoing expanses in two directions, like a
map that stretches out infinitely.
Morphic Traits: This trait measures how easily the basic
nature of a plane can be changed. Some planes are responsive to
sentient thought, while others can be manipulated only by
extremely powerful creatures. And some planes respond to physical or magical efforts.
Alterable Morphic: On a plane with this trait, objects remain
where they are (and what they are) unless affected by physical
force or magic. You can build a castle, animate a statue, or grow
crops in an alterable plane, changing your immediate environment as a result of tangible effort. Unless otherwise noted in a
description, every plane in the D&D cosmology other than the
Outer Planes has the alterable morphic trait.
Highly Morphic: On a plane with this trait, features of the plane
change so frequently that it’s difficult to keep a particular area
stable. Such planes may react dramatically to specific spells, sentient thought, or the force of will. Others change for no reason. In
the D&D cosmology, Limbo is a highly morphic plane.
Magically Morphic: Specific spells can alter the basic material of a
plane with this trait. The Plane of Shadow, which can be drawn
elsewhere and used to duplicate other spells, is a good example of
a magically morphic plane.
Divinely Morphic: Specific unique beings (deities or similar great
powers) have the ability to alter objects, creatures, and the landscape on planes with this trait. Ordinary characters find these
planes similar to alterable planes in that they may be affected by
spells and physical effort. But the deities may cause these areas to
change instantly and dramatically, creating great kingdoms for
themselves. All of the Outer Planes except for Limbo are divinely
morphic, which is one reason deities live there.

Elemental and Energy Traits
Within the D&D cosmology, four basic elements and two types of
energy together make up everything. The elements are earth, air,
fire, and water. The types of energy are positive and negative.
The Material Plane reflects a balancing of those elements and
energies; all are found there. Each of the Inner Planes is dominated by one element or type of energy. Other planes may show
off various aspects of these elemental traits. Many planes in the
D&D cosmology have no elemental or energy traits; these traits
are noted in a plane’s description only when they are present.
Air-Dominant: Mostly open space, planes with this trait have
just a few bits of floating stone or other elements. They usually
have a breathable atmosphere, though such a plane may include
clouds of acidic or toxic gas. Creatures of the earth subtype, such
as earth elementals, are uncomfortable on air-dominant planes
because they have little or no natural earth to connect with. They
take no actual damage, however.
Earth-Dominant: Planes with this trait are mostly solid. Travelers who arrive run the risk of suffocation (see page 304) if they
don’t reach a cavern or other pocket within the earth. Worse yet,
individuals without the ability to burrow are entombed in the
earth and must dig their way out (5 feet per turn). Creatures of the
air subtype, such as air elementals, are uncomfortable on earthdominant planes because these planes are tight and claustrophobic to them. But they suffer no inconvenience beyond having difficulty moving.
Fire-Dominant: Planes with this trait are composed of flames
that continually burn without consuming their fuel source. Fire-

In the D&D cosmology, each of the Outer Planes has a predisposition to a certain alignment. Most of the inhabitants of these planes
also have the plane’s particular alignment, even powerful creatures
such as deities. In addition, creatures of alignments contrary to the
plane have a tougher time dealing with its natives and situations.
The alignment trait of a plane affects social interactions there.
Characters who follow other alignments than most of the inhabitants do may find life more difficult.
Alignment traits have multiple components. First are the moral
(good or evil) and ethical (lawful or chaotic) components; a plane

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Alignment Traits

can have either a moral component, an ethical component, or one
of each. Second, the specific alignment trait indicates whether
each moral or ethical component is mildly or strongly evident.
Good-Aligned/Evil-Aligned: These planes have chosen a side
in the battle of good versus evil. No plane can be both goodaligned and evil-aligned.
Law-Aligned/Chaos-Aligned: Law versus chaos is the key
struggle for these planes and their residents. No plane can be both
law-aligned and chaos-aligned.
Each part of the moral/ethical alignment trait has a descriptor,
either “mildly” or “strongly,” to show how powerful the influence
of alignment is on the plane. A plane could be mildly good-aligned
and strongly chaos-aligned, for example.
Mildly Aligned: Creatures who have an alignment opposite
that of a mildly aligned plane take a –2 circumstance penalty on all
Charisma-based checks. Evil characters on a mildly good-aligned
plane, for example, have a hard time getting along with the natives.
Strongly Aligned: On planes that are strongly aligned, a –2 circumstance penalty applies on all Charisma-based checks made by
all creatures not of the plane’s alignment—in other words, neutral
characters take the penalty too. In addition, the –2 penalty affects
all Intelligence-based and Wisdom-based checks, too: It’s as if the
plane itself was standing in your way.
A strongly good-aligned, strongly law-aligned plane would
apply the –2 penalty to all creatures with a neutral aspect in their
alignment (as well as to evil or chaotic creatures).
The penalties for the moral and ethical components of the
alignment trait do stack. A neutral evil character on a mildly goodaligned, strongly chaos-aligned plane would take a –2 penalty on
Charisma-based checks for being evil on a mildly good plane, and
another –2 penalty on Intelligence-, Wisdom-, and Charismabased checks for being neutral on a strongly chaos-aligned plane.
Such a character would have a –4 circumstance penalty on
Charisma-based checks and a –2 circumstance penalty on Intelligence- and Wisdom-based checks.
Neutral-Aligned: A mildly neutral-aligned plane does not
apply a circumstance penalty to anyone. Such a plane could become a gathering point where those of different alignments could
meet, or the prize that extraplanar forces fight over. In the D&D
cosmology, the Outer Plane known as the Outlands is an example
of a mildly neutral-aligned plane.
The Material Plane in the D&D cosmology is considered mildly
neutral-aligned, though it may contain high concentrations of evil or
good, law or chaos in places. This fact often makes the Material Plane
a battleground for the various aligned planes and their natives, who
may try to change the alignment trait of the Material Plane itself.

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dominant planes are extremely hostile to Material Plane creatures,
and those without resistance or immunity to fire are soon immolated. Unprotected wood, paper, cloth, and other flammable materials catch fire almost immediately, and those wearing unprotected
flammable clothing catch on fire (see page 303). In addition, individuals take 3d10 points of fire damage every round they are on a
fire-dominant plane. Creatures of the water subtype are extremely
uncomfortable on fire-dominant planes. Those that are made of
water, such as water elementals, take double damage each round.
While these conditions are typical for all sites on the Elemental
Plane of Fire, the circumstances are much worse at locations such
as lava pools, magma rivers, and volcano springs. In the D&D cosmology, parts of some evil-aligned Outer Planes are also fire-dominant, and they too have their unusually deadly locations.
Water-Dominant: Planes with this trait are mostly liquid. Visitors who can’t breathe water or reach a pocket of air will likely
drown (see page 304). Creatures of the fire subtype are extremely
uncomfortable on water-dominant planes. Those made of fire,
such as fire elementals, take 1d10 points of damage each round.
Positive-Dominant: An abundance of life characterizes planes
with this trait. The two kinds of positive-dominant traits are
minor positive-dominant and major positive-dominant.
A minor positive-dominant plane is a riotous explosion of life
in all its forms. Colors are brighter, fires are hotter, noises are
louder, and sensations are more intense as a result of the positive
energy swirling through the plane. All individuals in a positivedominant plane gain fast healing 2 as an extraordinary ability.
Major positive-dominant planes go even further. A creature on
a major positive-dominant plane must make a DC 15 Fortitude
save to avoid being blinded for 10 rounds by the brilliance of the
surroundings. Simply being on the plane grants fast healing 5 as
an extraordinary ability. In addition, those at full hit points gain 5
additional temporary hit points per round. These temporary hit
points fade 1d20 rounds after the creature leaves the major positive-dominant plane. However, a creature must make a DC 20 Fortitude save each round that its temporary hit points exceed its
normal hit point total. Failing the saving throw results in the creature exploding in a riot of energy, killing it.
The positive energy protection spell prevents its target from receiving
the fast healing extraordinary ability, risking blindness, or receiving
the temporary hit points while on a positive-dominant plane.
Negative-Dominant: Planes with this trait are vast, empty
reaches that suck the life out of travelers who cross them. They
tend to be lonely, haunted planes, drained of color and filled with
winds bearing the soft moans of those who died within them. As
with positive-dominant planes, negative-dominant planes can be
either minor or major. On minor negative-dominant planes,
living creatures take 1d6 points of damage per round. At 0 hit
points or lower, they crumble into ash.
Major negative-dominant planes are even more severe. Each
round, those within must make a DC 25 Fortitude save or gain a
negative level. A creature whose negative levels equal its current
levels or Hit Dice is slain, becoming a wraith.
The death ward spell protects a traveler from the damage and
energy drain of a negative-dominant plane.

Magic Traits
A plane’s magic trait describes how magic works on the plane compared to how it works on the Material Plane. Particular locations
on a plane (such as those under the direct control of deities) may
be pockets where a different magic trait applies.
Normal Magic: This magic trait means that all spells and
supernatural abilities function as written. Unless otherwise noted
in a description, every plane in the D&D cosmology has the
normal magic trait.
Wild Magic: On a plane with the wild magic trait, such as
Limbo in the D&D cosmology, spells and spell-like abilities function in radically different and sometimes dangerous ways. Any
spell or spell-like ability used on a wild magic plane has a chance
to go awry. The caster must make a level check (DC 15 + the level
of the spell or effect) for the magic to function normally. For spelllike abilities, use the level or HD of the creature employing the
ability for the caster level check and the level of the spell-like ability to set the DC for the caster level check.
Failure on this check means that something strange happens;
roll d% and consult the following table.

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d%
01–19

150

Effect
Spell rebounds on caster with normal effect. If the spell
cannot affect the caster, it simply fails.
20–23 A circular pit 15 feet wide opens under the caster’s feet; it is
10 feet deep per level of the caster.
24–27 The spell fails, but the target or targets of the spell are
pelted with a rain of small objects (anything from flowers to
rotten fruit), which disappear upon striking. The barrage
continues for 1 round. During this time the targets are
blinded and must make Concentration checks (DC 15 +
spell level) to cast spells.
28–31 The spell affects a random target or area. The DM should
randomly choose a different target from among those in
range of the spell or center the spell at a random place
within range of the spell. To generate direction randomly,
roll 1d8 and count clockwise around the compass, starting
with south. To generate range randomly, roll 3d6. Multiply
the result by 5 feet for close range spells, 20 feet for
medium range spells, or 80 feet for long range spells.
32–35 The spell functions normally, but any material components
are not consumed. The spell is not expended from the
caster’s mind (a spell slot or prepared spell can be used
again). An item does not lose charges, and the effect does
not count against an item’s or spell-like ability’s use limit.
36–39 The spell does not function. Instead, everyone (friend or foe)
within 30 feet of the caster receives the effect of a heal spell.
40–43 The spell does not function. Instead, a deeper darkness and a
silence effect cover a 30-foot radius around the caster for
2d4 rounds.
44–47 The spell does not function. Instead, a reverse gravity effect
covers a 30-foot radius around the caster for 1 round.
48–51 The spell functions, but shimmering colors swirl around the
caster for 1d4 rounds. Treat this a glitterdust effect with a
save DC of 10 + the level of the spell that generated this
result.
52–59 Nothing happens. The spell does not function. Any material
components are used up. The spell or spell slot is used up,
and charges or uses from an item are used up.
60–71 Nothing happens. The spell does not function. Any material
components are not consumed. The spell is not expended
from the caster’s mind (a spell slot or prepared spell can be
used again). An item does not lose charges, and the effect
does not count against an item’s or spell-like ability’s use
limit.
72–98 The spell functions normally.
99–100 The spell functions strongly. Saving throws against the spell
incur a –2 penalty. The spell has the maximum possible effect,
as if it were cast with the Maximize Spell feat. If the spell is
already maximized with the feat, there is no further effect.

Impeded Magic: Particular spells and spell-like abilities are
more difficult to cast on planes with this trait, often because the
nature of the plane interferes with the spell. Fireball spells may be
cast on the Elemental Plane of Water, but the opposing natures of
the spell and the plane makes it difficult.
To cast an impeded spell, the caster must make a Spellcraft
check (DC 20 + the level of the spell). If the check fails, the spell
does not function but is still lost as a prepared spell or spell slot. If
the check succeeds, the spell functions normally.
Enhanced Magic: Particular spells and spell-like abilities are
easier to use or more powerful in effect on planes with this trait
than they are on the Material Plane.
Natives of a plane with the enhanced magic trait are aware of
which spells and spell-like abilities are enhanced, but planar travelers may have to discover this on their own.
If a spell is enhanced, certain metamagic feats can be applied to
it without changing the spell slot required or the casting time.

Spellcasters on the plane are considered to have that feat or feats
for the purpose of applying them to that spell. Spellcasters native
to the plane must gain the feat or feats normally if they want to use
them on other planes as well.
For example, spells with the fire descriptor are maximized and
enlarged on the Elemental Plane of Fire. Wizards on this plane
can prepare maximized, enlarged versions of their fire spells
even if they don’t have the Maximize Spell and Enlarge Spell
feats, and they use the same spell slots they would to cast these
spells normally (not maximized or enlarged) on the Material
Plane. Sorcerers on this plane can cast maximized, enlarged fire
spells without using higher-level slots, and it takes them no extra
time to do so.
Limited Magic: Planes with this trait permit only the use of
spells and spell-like abilities that meet particular qualifications.
Magic can be limited to effects from certain schools or subschools,
to effects with certain descriptors, or to effects of a certain level (or
any combination of these qualities). Spells and spell-like abilities
that don’t meet the qualifications simply don’t work.

HOW PLANES INTERACT
By definition, planes are infinite or near-infinite expanses,
whether they are flat worlds, layered vaults, or spheres hanging in
space. How, then, can they interact with each other?
As a metaphor, imagine the various planes of a cosmology floating near each other in a three-dimensional constellation or cluster. They are not necessarily “above” or “below” each other, though
there is a social tendency to call good-aligned planes “upper”
planes and evil-aligned planes “lower” planes. What is important
to the D&D cosmology is whether two given planes are separate,
coterminous, or coexistent.
Separate Planes: Two planes that are separate do not overlap or
directly connect to each other. They are like planets in different
orbits. Any Outer Plane, for example, has no direct connection
with the Material Plane. The two planes are separate, and the only
way to get from one plane to the other is to go through a third
plane, such as the Astral Plane.
Coterminous Planes: Planes that touch at specific points are
coterminous. Where they touch, a connection exists, and travelers
can leave one reality behind and enter the other. It’s possible, for
example, to sail from Hades to the Abyss on the River Styx.
Coexistent Planes: If a link between two planes can be created at any point, the two planes are coexistent. These planes
overlap each other completely. A coexistent plane can be reached
from anywhere on the plane it overlaps. When moving on a coexistent plane, it is often possible to see into or interact with the
plane it coexists with. The Ethereal Plane is coexistent with the
Material Plane, and inhabitants of the Ethereal Plane can see into
the Material Plane. With the right magic, inhabitants of the
Material Plane can likewise see and interact with those on the
Ethereal Plane (see invisibility and magic missile, for example, both
affect the Ethereal Plane).

THE D&D COSMOLOGY
The D&D cosmology is structured as follows.
The Material Plane is at its center.
The Plane of Shadow and the Ethereal Plane are coexistent with
the Material Plane. All planes, including the Plane of Shadow and
the Ethereal Plane, are coexistent with the Astral Plane, which
envelops the whole cosmology like a cloud.
The six Inner Planes surround the Material Plane. They are separate from the Material Plane and from each other (they do not
have connections between them). They are each coexistent with
the Astral Plane. Each of the Inner Planes has the appropriate elemental or energy trait.
The Outer Planes are arranged in a great wheel around the
Material Plane. Each Outer Plane is coterminous to the planes on

Infinities may be broken into smaller infinities, and planes into
smaller, related planes. These layers are effectively separate planes
of existence, and each layer can have its own planar traits. Layers
are connected to each other through a variety of planar gates, natural vortices, paths, and shifting borders.
Access to a layered plane from elsewhere usually happens on a
specific layer: the first layer of the plane, which can be either the
top layer or the bottom layer, depending on the specific plane.
Most fixed access points (such as portals and natural vortices)
reach this layer, which makes it the gateway for other layers of the
plane. The plane shift spell also deposits the spellcaster on the first
layer of the plane.
All layers of a plane are connected to the Astral Plane, so travelers can reach specific layers directly through spells such as astral
projection. Often the first layer is the one most hospitable to planar
travelers.

Random Planar Destinations
Spells such as prismatic spray and banishment may send an individual to a random plane. To determine where a character winds up,
roll on Table 5–7: Random Planar Destinations.

Table 5–7: Random Planar Destinations
d%
01–05
06–10
11–15
16–20
21–25
26–30
31–35
36–40
41–45
46–50
51–55
56–60
61–65
66–70
71–75
76–80
81–89
90–91
92–93
94–95
96–97
98
99
100

Plane
Heroic Domains of Ysgard
Ever-Changing Chaos of Limbo
Windswept Depths of Pandemonium
Infinite Layers of the Abyss
Tarterian Depths of Carceri
Gray Waste of Hades
Bleak Eternity of Gehenna
Nine Hells of Baator
Infernal Battlefield of Acheron
Clockwork Nirvana of Mechanus
Peaceable Kingdoms of Arcadia
Seven Mounting Heavens of Celestia
Twin Paradises of Bytopia
Blessed Fields of Elysium
Wilderness of the Beastlands
Olympian Glades of Arborea
Concordant Domain of the Outlands
Elemental Plane of Fire
Elemental Plane of Earth
Elemental Plane of Air
Elemental Plane of Water
Positive Energy Plane
Negative Energy Plane
Demiplane of your choice

PLANE DESCRIPTIONS

The planes that make up the Great Wheel are briefly described
below.
Each of the Transitive Planes and Inner Planes has its own
random encounter table. The Outer Planes share four random
encounter tables; use the appropriate one as directed in the plane’s
description. All the encounter tables in this section are intentionally general; if you’re designing a site-based adventure on another
plane, use the appropriate table as a starting point for your own
encounters.

CAMPAIGNS

Layered Planes

The table assumes that the character’s plane of origin is either
the Material Plane, the Astral Plane, the Ethereal Plane, or the
Plane of Shadow. If the character’s plane of origin is instead one of
the planes mentioned on Table 5–7, then substitute the Material
Plane for the plane of origin’s line on the table. For example, breaking a staff of power (page 245) on the Elemental Plane of Fire sends
the wielder to the Material Plane if a 91 is rolled.
The layer and exact location of an individual’s arrival on the particular plane is up to you. Transportation to a random plane does
not guarantee survival there, and individuals who risk such effects
should be aware of the dangers.

CHAPTER 5:

either side of it but separate from the other Outer Planes. The
exception is the Concordant Domain of the Outlands, which is
coterminous to every other Outer Plane and thus serves as a central hub for dealings between outsiders.
The Outer Planes are coexistent with the Astral Plane. They are
separate from the Ethereal Plane and the Plane of Shadow, so certain spells (ethereal jaunt, for example) aren’t available to a caster on
the Outer Planes. Each Outer Planes is made up of related layers
(see Layered Planes, below), and the most common access to an
Outer Plane is through the top layer of each plane. The goodaligned planes, also called the celestial planes or the upper planes,
are linked by the path of the River Oceanus. The evil-aligned
planes, also called the infernal planes or the lower planes, are
linked by the path of the River Styx.
A large number of finite demiplanes connect all over the place.
Individual conduits, freestanding portals, and vortices are also
common.

THE ETHEREAL PLANE
The Ethereal Plane is a misty, fog-bound dimension that is coexistent with the Material Plane and often other planes as well. Travelers within the Ethereal Plane describe the plane as a collection of
swirling mists and colorful fogs. The Material Plane itself is visible
from the Ethereal Plane, but it appears muted and indistinct, its
colors blurring into each other and its edges turning fuzzy. Ethereal denizens watch the Material Plane as though viewing it
through distorted and frosted glass.
While it is possible to see into the Material Plane from the
Ethereal Plane, the Ethereal Plane is usually invisible to those on
the Material Plane. Normally, creatures on the Ethereal Plane
cannot attack creatures on the Material Plane, and vice versa. A
traveler on the Ethereal Plane is invisible, incorporeal, and
utterly silent to someone on the Material Plane. This makes the
Ethereal Plane very useful for reconnaissance, spying on opponents, and other occasions when it’s handy to move around without being detected.
The Ethereal Plane is mostly empty of structures and impediments. However, the plane has its own inhabitants. Some of these
are other ethereal travelers, but the ghosts found here pose a particular peril to those who walk the fog.
It has the following traits.
• No gravity.
• Alterable morphic. The plane contains little to alter, however.
• Mildly neutral-aligned.
• Normal magic. Spells function normally on the Ethereal Plane,
though they do not cross into the Material Plane. It is possible
for a caster on the Ethereal Plane to use a fireball spell against an
enemy on the Ethereal Plane, but the same fireball wouldn’t
affect anyone on the corresponding part of the Material Plane.
A bystander on the Material Plane can walk through an ethereal
battlefield without feeling more than the hair on the back of his
neck standing up.
The only exceptions are spells and spell-like abilities that have the
force descriptor, such as magic missile and wall of force, and abjuration spells that affect ethereal beings. Spellcasters on the Material
Plane must have some way to detect foes on the Ethereal Plane
before targeting them with force-based spells, of course. While it’s
possible to hit ethereal enemies with a magic missile spell cast on
the Material Plane, the reverse isn’t possible. No magical attacks
cross from the Ethereal Plane to the Material Plane, including
force attacks.

151

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CHAPTER 5:

Example Ethereal Site: Misty Cemetery
Misty Cemetery (so named because the coastal fog at this location
on the Material Plane often obscures the tombstones) is home to
the ghosts of warlords from long-forgotten crusades. The ghosts
menace wayward travelers and tomb robbers, but they are otherwise content to spend their time on the Ethereal Plane, biding
their time until they can pass on to their final reward.
The ghosts rarely confront mourners or other cemetery visitors
by daylight—but anyone who visits the cemetery at night, defaces
the crypts and tombs, or enters the Ethereal Plane invites their
wrath. Their ringleaders are Durek of the Scar (Ftr 12), Colonel
Harakh (Ftr 5/Clr 9), and the Eyeless One (Sor 16), but the cemetery is a vast, sprawling place, and the more powerful ghosts can’t
be everywhere.
To draw a map of the Misty Cemetery, scatter small crypts
across the landscape by drawing 10-foot-by-20-foot buildings with
masonry walls and locked (Open Lock DC 30) iron doors. Place a
tombstone in rows of adjacent squares (a tombstone functions as
the slender pillar described on page 64, providing a +2 bonus to
Armor Class and a +1 bonus on Reflex saves). Occasionally pick
two adjacent squares to represent an open grave (which functions
as a trench, described on page 91). When faced with intruders on
the Ethereal Plane, the ghosts will lurk within the crypts, trying to
surprise the PCs by striking through the walls of the crypts.

• Magically morphic. Spells such as shadow conjuration and shadow
evocation modify the base material of the Plane of Shadow. The
utility and power of these spells within the Plane of Shadow
make them particularly useful for explorers and natives alike.
• Mildly neutral-aligned.
• Enhanced magic. Spells with the shadow descriptor are enhanced on the Plane of Shadow. Such spells are cast as though
they were prepared with the Maximize Spell feat, though they
don’t require the higher spell slots.
Furthermore, specific spells become more powerful on the Plane
of Shadow. Shadow conjuration and shadow evocation spells are 30%
as powerful as the conjurations and evocations they mimic (as
opposed to 20%). Greater shadow conjuration and greater shadow evocation are 70% as powerful (not 60%), and a shades spell conjures at
90% of the power of the original (not 80%).
• Impeded magic. Spells that use or generate light or fire may
fizzle when cast on the Plane of Shadow. A spellcaster attempting a spell with the light or fire descriptor must succeed on a
Spellcraft check (DC 20 + the level of the spell). Spells that
produce light are less effective in general, because all light
sources have their ranges halved on the Plane of Shadow.
Despite the dark nature of the Plane of Shadow, spells that produce, use, or manipulate darkness are unaffected by the plane.

Example Shadow Site: Dark City
Ethereal Plane Encounters (EL 9)
d%
Encounter
Average EL
01–80
Roll on relevant Material Plane table*
—
81–82
1 devourer
11
83
1 couatl
10
84–86
1 night hag and 1 nightmare
10
87
10th-level drow wizard NPC
10
88–90
1d4 xills
9
91–93
1d3 ghosts, 5th-level human fighters
9
94–96
1d6+5 blink dogs
8
97
1d4+2 jann
8
98–99
1d4 phase spiders
8
100
1 succubus (demon)
7
* The encounter is with a creature or creatures on the Material Plane
that the PCs can see; generate an appropriate dungeon or
wilderness encounter.

PLANE OF SHADOW

152

The Plane of Shadow is a dimly lit dimension that is both coterminous to and coexistent with the Material Plane. It overlaps the
Material Plane much as the Ethereal Plane does, so a planar traveler can use the Plane of Shadow to cover great distances quickly.
The Plane of Shadow is also coterminous to other planes. With
the right spell, a character can use the Plane of Shadow to visit
other realities.
The Plane of Shadow is a world of black and white; color itself
has been bleached from the environment. It is otherwise appears
similar to the Material Plane.
The sky on the Plane of Shadow is a black vault with neither sun
nor stars. Landmarks from the Material Plane are recognizable on
the Plane of Shadow, but they are twisted, warped things—diminished reflections of what can be found on the Material Plane.
Despite the lack of light sources, various plants, animals, and
humanoids call the Plane of Shadow home.
The Plane of Shadow is magically morphic, and parts continually flow onto other planes. As a result, creating a precise map of
the plane is next to impossible, despite the presence of landmarks.
If a traveler visits a mountain range during one use of a shadow
walk spell, the mountain range may still be there the next time,
but the individual mountains may have moved about. Precision is
a lost cause on the Plane of Shadow.
The Plane of Shadow has the following traits.

When the characters enter the Plane of Shadow where it coexists with a Material Plane city, they find themselves in a dark,
largely abandoned version of that town. The parallels are not
exact, so the PCs’ favorite inn may be on a different street, be
built in a different style, or lie in ruins.
Differences between a Material Plane city and its Plane of
Shadow counterpart can be quite significant, such as a huge dark
castle where none exists on the Material Plane, or an ancient
battlefield where the city green should be. Most troubling of all
are the shadowy echoes of people the traveler knows, shadow creatures with the twisted but still recognizable features of loved ones.
These shadow duplicates do not speak and have no special abilities, but the effect is disconcerting nonetheless.
Shadow travelers in a place particularly familiar or meaningful
to them must succeed on a DC 15 Will save to ignore such dark
mirages. Those who fail are haunted and rattled by the similarities,
taking a –2 morale penalty on attack rolls and saving throws as
long as they remain in a location familiar to them. Travelers who
make their saves are unaffected by the dark mirages for the duration of their trip to the Plane of Shadow.
Not everything in a dark city is a mirage. Undead shadows glide
through the streets looking for anyone who doesn’t belong amid
the gloom, and bodaks that have found their way onto the Plane of
Shadow stalk living travelers.
To draw a map for encounters in a dark city, start by drawing a
normal cityscape (as described in the Urban Adventures section,
page 98). Then reduce roughly one-quarter of the buildings to
rubble (treat as large piles of stone and heavy debris strewn about).
Another one-quarter of the buildings have some structural damage, such as gaping holes in the walls and collapsed roof timbers.
Finally, move a few buildings into locations that don’t correspond
with their Material Plane counterparts, and add and subtract a few
streets and alleys.

Plane of Shadow Encounters (EL 11)
d%
01–10
11–20
21–40
41–60
61–80
81–100

Encounter
1 nightwing (nightshade)
1 lich, 11th-level human wizard
1d4+2 spectres
1 dread wraith
1d3 greater shadows
1d6+3 shadow mastiffs

Average EL
14
13
11
11
10
10

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CHAPTER 5:

THE ASTRAL PLANE
The Astral Plane is the space between the planes. When a character moves through an interplanar portal or projects her spirit to a
different plane of existence, she travels through the Astral
Plane. Even spells that allow instantaneous movement
across a plane, such as dimension door, briefly
touch the Astral Plane.
The Astral Plane is a great, endless sphere of
clear silvery sky, both above and below. Large
tube-shaped clouds slowly coil into
the distance, some appearing like
thunderheads and others looking
like immobile tornadoes of gray
wind. Erratic whirlpools of
color flicker in midair like
spinning coins. Occasional
bits of solid matter can be
found here, but most of the Astral
Plane is an endless, open domain.
Both planar travelers and refugees
from other planes call the Astral Plane
home. The most prominent denizens of the
Astral Plane are the githyanki, an outcast race
that preys on travelers throughout the plane.
The Astral Plane has the following traits.
• Subjective directional gravity.
• Timeless. Age, hunger, thirst, poison,
and natural healing don’t function in
the Astral Plane, though they resume
functioning when the traveler leaves
the Astral Plane.
• Mildly neutral-aligned.
• Enhanced magic. All spells and
spell-like abilities used within
the Astral Plane may be employed as if they were improved by the Quicken
Spell feat. Already quickGithyanki pirates
ened spells and spell-like
lurk on the
abilities are unaffected,
Astral Plane
as are spells from magic
items. Spells so quickened
are still prepared and cast at their unmodified level. As
with the Quicken Spell feat, only one quickened spell can
be cast per round.

Example Astral Site: Silver Sky
The characters are surrounded by a silver-gray haze that stretches
endlessly in all directions. The map’s only feature is a colorful 10-footdiameter pool that provides a natural portal to another plane (determined randomly). Some 70% of color pools are one-way portals.

Astral Plane Encounters (EL 11)
d%
01–15
16–25
26–40
41–50
51–65
66–75
76–90
91–100

154

Encounter
1 astral deva (angel)
1 young adult red dragon
10th-level human cleric NPC and
10th-level goblin rogue NPC
1 devourer
1d4 efreet
1 cauchemar (nightmare)
1d3 mind flayers
1d3 noble djinn (genie)

Average EL
14
13
12
11
11
11
10
8

If characters explore this part of the Astral Plane, they’ll discover more color pools that lead elsewhere. It takes 1d4×10 hours
to find a color pool that leads to a particular plane.

The Elemental Plane of Air is an empty plane, consisting of sky
above and sky below. Clouds billow up in bank after bank,
swelling into grand thunderheads and dissipating into wisps like
cotton candy. The wind pulls and tugs around travelers, and rainbows glimmer in the distance.
The Elemental Plane of Air is the most comfortable and survivable of the Inner Planes, and it is the home of all manner of airborne creatures. Indeed, flying creatures find themselves at a great
advantage on this plane. While travelers without flight can survive easily here, they are at a disadvantage.
The Elemental Plane of Air has the following traits.
• Subjective directional gravity. Inhabitants of the plane determine their own “down” direction. Objects not under the motive
force of others do not move.
• Air-dominant.
• Enhanced magic. Spells and spell-like abilities that use, manipulate, or create air (including spells of the Air domain) are
both empowered and enlarged (as if the Empower Spell and
Enlarge Spell metamagic feats had been used on them, but the
spells don’t require higher-level slots).
• Impeded magic. Spells and spell-like abilities that use or create
earth (including spells of the Earth domain and spells that
summon earth elementals or outsiders with the earth subtype)
are impeded.

Example Plane of Air Site: Cloud Island
What appears to be a white cumulus cloud is actually as solid as
earth, if somewhat difficult to move across (treat as a shallow bog;
see page 88). Creatures with a fly speed can force themselves
through the cloud island (effectively giving them a burrow speed
of 10 feet). Some 2d4 pillars of fog 10 feet across drift across the
landscape (they provide concealment as the obscuring mist spell,
moving 10 feet in a random direction at initiative count 0). The
cloud island is about 1/2 mile wide and 1d10×5 feet thick at any
given point.

Elemental Plane of Air Encounters (EL 10)
d%
01–12
21–32
33–47
48–62
63–74
75–84
85–92
93–100

Encounter
1d4+2 noble djinn (genie)
1 elder air elemental
1d3 elder arrowhawks
1d4+2 belkers
1 greater air elemental
1d4+2 adult arrowhawks
1 invisible stalker
1 Huge air elemental

Average EL
12
11
10
10
9
9
7
7

Floating in serene contemplation in the center of the cloud
island is a noble djinn (see page 115 of the Monster Manual). If characters capture her (by defeating her without killing her or driving
her away), she will grant three wishes collectively to the party. She is

ELEMENTAL PLANE OF EARTH
The Elemental Plane of Earth is a solid place made of rock, soil,
and stone. An unwary and unprepared traveler may find himself
entombed within this vast solidity of material and have his life
crushed into nothingness, his powdered remains a warning to any
foolish enough to follow.
Despite its solid, unyielding nature, the Elemental Plane of
Earth is varied in its consistency, ranging from relatively soft soil
to veins of heavier and more valuable metal. Striations of granite,
volcanic rock, and marble interweave with brittle crystal and soft,
crumbling chalks and sandstones. Thin veins of gemstones, rough
and huge, can be found within the plane, and these unpolished
jewels often lead the greedy to this plane in the hope of picking
them up with minimal effort. Such prospectors often meet their
match in the natives of the Elemental Plane of Earth, who feel
extremely attached (sometimes literally) to parts of their home.
The Elemental Plane of Earth has the following traits.
• Earth-dominant.
• Enhanced magic. Spells and spell-like abilities that use, manipulate, or create earth or stone (including those of the Earth
domain) are both empowered and extended (as if the
Empower Spell and Extend Spell metamagic feats had been
used on them, but the spells don’t require higher-level slots).
Spells and spell-like abilities that are already empowered or
extended are unaffected by this benefit.
• Impeded magic. Spells and spell-like abilities that use or create
air (including spells of the Air domain and spells that summon
air elementals or outsiders with the air subtype) are impeded.

CAMPAIGNS

ELEMENTAL PLANE OF AIR

eager to talk to visitors from the Material Plane, where she spent
more than a century trapped by an evil wizard. If characters can
improve her attitude to friendly (it starts out indifferent), she’ll offer
the characters a bargain. She will grant three wishes to the party if
the characters will first avenge her imprisonment by capturing the
evil Material Plane conjurer and returning him to this cloud island,
where the djinn will arrange for “long-term detention.”

CHAPTER 5:

But the PCs aren’t alone in the serene haze of the Astral
Plane. Githyanki pirates cruise the color pools, looking for
well-heeled travelers from other planes. A typical githyanki
pirate ship is a longship (described on page 132 of the Player’s
Handbook) that flies under its own power at a speed of 90 feet.
The pirate captain (githyanki Ftr11 or Ftr6/Rog5) leads his
crew into battle, with a war-wizard (githyanki Wiz9) or mercenary cleric (tiefling Clr9) providing support to the rank-andfile pirates. (Githyanki are never clerics themselves, so they
must hire mercenary clerics because natural healing doesn’t
work on the Astral Plane.)
The githyanki use the enhanced magic of the Astral Plane to
good effect, taking full attacks, then using their dimension door
spell-like ability as a free action to confound their enemies.

Example Plane of Earth Site: Great Dismal Delve
Essentially a dungeon the size of a continent, the Great Dismal
Delve is a maddening maze of passages that are intentionally bewildering to the traveler. A variety of powerful genie lords and
their slave races live here in dark splendor, eagerly mining gems
for trade. Slaves, often the losers in bets and bargains with the
rulers of the Great Dismal Delve, build and rebuild passages, fend
off elemental attacks, and are otherwise slowly worked to death by
their uncaring masters.
Glowing crystals line the Great Dismal Delve, and great vaults
are set with them in star patterns unlike any seen on the Material
Plane. The Great Dismal Delve spans a number of large, natural
caverns that are tectonically unstable. Earthquakes (with an effect
as the spell; see page 225 of the Player’s Handbook) are frequent
occurrences, which keeps the slaves busy doing repair work.
The connections and passages of the Great Dismal Delve
link up with a complicated array of portals leading to other
Inner Planes, the subterranean reaches of some of the Outer
Planes, and the deepest dungeons of the Material Plane. It is
rumored that somewhere within the Great Dismal Delve is a
freestanding portal to almost every secret location within the
D&D cosmology.

Elemental Plane of Earth Encounters (EL 10)
d%
01–25
26–50
51–75
76–90
91–100

Encounter
1 elder earth elemental
1d4+2 average xorns
1d3 elder xorns
1 greater earth elemental
1 Huge earth elemental

Average EL
11
10
10
9
7

155

The City of Brass is the best known location on the Elemental
Plane of Fire and is also the most likely to be visited by travelers
from the Material Plane. The air is slightly cooler here; it deals no
damage (unlike everywhere else on this fire-dominant plane), but
it is still stiflingly hot. That doesn’t mean the City of Brass is particularly hospitable. Every brass wall glows with heat, and casual
contact with the walls deals 1d6 points of fire damage per round.
Even the iron cobblestones glow with heat, dealing 1 point of
fire damage per round. Without the aid of magic, visitors soon
ELEMENTAL PLANE OF FIRE
writhe and burn in the streets.
Everything is alight on the Elemental Plane of Fire. The ground is
The City of Brass has the mildly evil-aligned trait. Good-aligned
nothing more than great, evershifting plates of compressed flame.
creatures within the City of Brass take a –2 penalty on all ChaThe air ripples with the heat of continual firestorms, and the
risma-based checks. This alignment trait is due in part to the
most common liquid is magma, not water. The oceans are
nature of the efreet within the walls, but the city also has a
made of liquid flame, and the mountains ooze
number of freestanding portals leading to the Nine Hells of
with molten lava. The plane is a cremaBaator. Devils are common within the
torium for the unprepared traveler
walls of the City of Brass, either
and an uncomfortable spot even for
performing missions for
the dedicated adventurer.
their infernal masters or
Fire survives here without
bringing tribute and gifts
need for fuel or air, but flamto the grand sultan’s
mables brought onto the
court.
plane are consumed readily.
To make an enThe elemental fires seem
counter map for the
to feed on each other to
City of Brass, use the
produce a continually
guidelines in the Urburning landscape.
ban Adventures section
The Elemental Plane
(page 98), but the buildof Fire has the following
ings are half again as tall
traits.
as they would be in a
• Fire-dominant.
Material Plane city,
• Enhanced magic.
and most have a
Spells and spellplethora of exterior
like abilities with the
staircases, ledges,
fire descriptor are both
and balconies. Inmaximized and enlarged
clude some pools of
(as if the Maximize Spell
magma, which deals 2d6
and Enlarge Spell had been
points of fire damage to
used on them, but the spells
characters who wade
don’t require higher-level slots).
through it and 20d6
Spells and spell-like abilities
points of fire damage
that are already maxito creatures who are
mized or enlarged are unfully immersed. Some
affected by this benefit.
pedestals and sconces
• Impeded magic. Spells and spell-like
spout blasts of flame
abilities that use or create water (includevery 1d4 rounds
ing spells of the Water domain and spells
(dealing 5d6 points of
that summon water elementals or outsiders
fire damage to everyone
with the water subtype) are impeded.
within 20 feet at initiative
Elemental Plane of Fire
count 0; Reflex DC 14 half ).
Example Plane of Fire Site: City of Brass
At the center of the city are its tallest towers and greatest founThe City of Brass is populated by powerful efreet and is considered
tains of flame. Here is the Burning Palace of the Grand Sultan of
by many efreet to be their home and their capital. Efreet may be
All the Efreet, where he rules from the Charcoal Throne. It is said
found elsewhere on the Elemental Plane of Fire, but even farthat within the great palace are wonders beyond belief and treaflung settlements owe fealty and allegiance to the grand sultan
sure beyond counting. But here also is found death for any uninwho rules the City of Brass from his burning palace. The grand
vited guest who seeks to wrest even a single coin or bauble from
sultan is said to be an efreeti of singular power and prowess, and is
the treasure rooms of the grand sultan.
advised by all manner of elemental nobles. His direct servants,
both in the city and on the Material Plane, are six lords of considerable power.
Elemental Plane of Fire Encounters (EL 10)
The city is cradled in a brass hemisphere 40 miles across, floatd%
Encounter
Average EL
ing above a plate of cracked obsidian at the heart of the Elemental
01–15
1d4+2 efreet (genie)
12
Plane of Fire. Stairs of burning basalt and rivers of flame stream
16–40
1 elder fire elemental
11
up from the surface below to the well-armed gates of the city. The
41–60
1d4+2 average salamanders
10
city walls may be breached by flying creatures, but the efreet take
61–75
1 noble salamander
10
a dim view of interlopers who refuse to present themselves at one
76–90
1 greater fire elemental
9
of the city’s gates.
91–100
1 Huge fire elemental
7

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A map of the Great Dismal Delve looks like any dungeon, only
it stretches far beyond what’s available on the Material Plane. The
Great Dismal Delve is a mix of natural caverns and finely worked
passageways. Doors, corridors, and rooms are as likely to be
trapped as they are in the deadliest dungeon, and almost any monster can be found either lurking in its lair or stalking the PCs
through the hallways.

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ELEMENTAL PLANE OF WATER

Example Negative Plane Site: Voidstone Field

A spherical tangle of kelp and seaweed a mile across, the sargasso
doldrum is home to many dangerous predators that feed on the
herbivorous fish that eat the seaweed.
Characters who explore the sargasso doldrum find it tough
going. Even if they have a swim speed, it takes 2 squares of movement to struggle through each square in the web of kelp. Only
those with a freedom of movement or pass without trace spell can move
normally through the area. Line of sight is limited to 30 feet, and
creatures more than 20 feet away have concealment.
The sargasso doldrum is infested with dire sharks, who attack in
great hunting schools without regard to their own safety. More
sinister foes such as aboleths and black dragons study interlopers
as they fight the sharks, deciding how best to hunt them if they
stay among the seaweed.

Elemental Plane of Water Encounters (EL 10)
d%
01–20
21–45
46–65
66–85
86–100

Encounter
1 elder water elemental
1d3 elder tojanidas
1d4+2 adult tojanidas
1 greater water elemental
1 Huge water elemental

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Example Water Site: Sargasso Doldrum

To an observer, there’s little to see on the Negative Energy
Plane. It is a dark, empty place, an eternal pit where a traveler can
fall until the plane itself steals away all light and life.
The Negative Energy Plane is the most hostile of the Inner
Planes, and the most uncaring and intolerant of life. Only creatures immune to its life-draining energies can survive there.
The Negative Energy Plane has the following traits.
• Subjective directional gravity.
• Major negative-dominant. Some areas within the plane have
only the minor negative-dominant trait, and these islands tend
to be inhabited.
• Enhanced magic. Spells and spell-like abilities that use negative
energy are maximized (as if the Maximize Spell metamagic feat
had been used on them, but the spells don’t require higher-level
slots). Spells and spell-like abilities that are already maximized
are unaffected by this benefit. Class abilities that use negative
energy, such as rebuking and controlling undead, gain a +10
bonus on the roll to determine Hit Dice affected.
• Impeded magic. Spells and spell-like abilities that use positive
energy, including cure spells, are impeded. Characters on this
plane take a –10 penalty on Fortitude saving throws made to
remove negative levels bestowed by an energy drain attack.
Random Encounters: Because the Negative Energy Plane is
virtually devoid of creatures, random encounters on the plane are
exceedingly rare.

CHAPTER 5:

The Elemental Plane of Water is a sea without a floor or a surface,
an entirely fluid environment lit by a diffuse glow. It is one of the
more hospitable of the Inner Planes once a traveler gets past the
problem of breathing the local medium.
The eternal oceans of this plane vary between ice cold and boiling hot, between saline and fresh. They are perpetually in motion,
wracked by currents and tides. The plane’s permanent settlements
form around bits of flotsam and jetsam suspended within this endless liquid. These settlements drift on the tides of the Elemental
Plane of Water.
The Elemental Plane of Water has the following traits.
• Subjective directional gravity. The gravity here works similar to
that of the Elemental Plane of Air. But sinking or rising on the
Elemental Plane of Water is slower (and less dangerous) than on
the Elemental Plane of Air.
• Water-dominant.
• Enhanced magic. Spells and spell-like abilities that use or create
water are both extended and enlarged (as if the Extend Spell
and Enlarge Spell metamagic feats had been used on them, but
the spells don’t require higher-level slots). Spells and spell-like
abilities that are already extended or enlarged are unaffected by
this benefit.
• Impeded magic. Spells and spell-like abilities with the fire
descriptor (including spells of the Fire domain) are impeded.

Average EL
11
11
9
9
7

A ruined war galley sits in the center of the sargasso doldrum.
The ship, protected by a neutral alignment, maximized forbiddance
spell, holds the treasure trove of a powerful water naga wizard. The
aboleths and black dragons don’t know what’s in the ship’s hold;
they would just hire neutral creatures to extract the riches if they
found out what they could gain.
To draw an encounter map for the doldrums, include some irregular clusters of adjacent squares roughly 15 feet across. These
squares, representing particularly dense clots of sargasso, function
as heavy undergrowth (see page 87).

NEGATIVE ENERGY PLANE
The Negative Energy Plane is a barren, empty place, a void without end, and a place of empty, endless night. Worse, it is a needy,
greedy plane, sucking the life out of anything that is vulnerable.
Heat, fire, and life itself are all drawn into the maw of this plane,
which always hungers for more.

In some locations on the Negative Energy Plane, the collapsing
intensity of the plane is so great that the negative energy folds in
on itself, stabilizing into solid chunks of utterly black matter.
These chunks of voidstone might be the building blocks of such
items as the sphere of annihilation (page 279). Indeed, anything that
comes into contact with a voidstone is destroyed in seconds.
Unlike with a sphere of annihilation, a character touching a piece
of voidstone gets a DC 25 Fortitude save each round he or she
stays in contact with it. Natives of the Negative Energy Plane are
vulnerable to voidstones.
A chunk of voidstone cannot be controlled through mental
energy as a spheres of annihilation can be.
Voidstones may be of any size, ranging from inches across to
dozens of feet. To draw them on an encounter map, put small dots
(representing very small voidstones roughly 1 foot in diameter) in
about 5% of the squares. Draw 3d6 voidstones that take up a whole
square each, and add 1d4 very large voidstones that are 10 feet or
more in diameter.
The very small and very large voidstones are stationary, but the
square-sized voidstones move. Each round at initiative count 0,
each square-sized voidstone moves 1d3 squares toward the nearest
living creature.
Nightwalkers lurk among the voidstones, which act as an alarm
system for them (the voidstones stay stationary because the nightwalkers are undead). PCs who fight the nightwalkers will also have
to contend with the inexorable approach of the voidstones. The
nightwalkers have learned to use the unusual terrain in other ways;
they’ll use their heft to bull-rush foes into oblivion, for example.

POSITIVE ENERGY PLANE
The Positive Energy Plane is best compared to the heart of a star. It
is a continual furnace of creation, a domain of brilliance beyond
the ability of mortal eyes to comprehend. Its very being wavers
and ripples as new matter and energy is born and swells to full
power like a bursting fruit. It is a vibrant plane, so alive with itself
that travelers themselves are empowered by visiting it.
The Positive Energy Plane has no surface and is akin to the Elemental Plane of Air with its wide-open nature. However, every bit
of this plane glows brightly with innate power. This power is dangerous to mortal forms, which are not made to handle it.

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Despite the beneficial effects of the plane, it is one of the most
hostile of the Inner Planes. An unprotected character on this
plane swells with power as positive energy is force-fed into her.
Then, her mortal frame unable to contain that power, she immolates as if she were a small planet caught at the edge of a supernova.
Visits to the Positive Energy Plane are brief, and even then travelers must be heavily protected.
The Positive Energy Plane has the following traits.
• Subjective directional gravity.
• Major positive-dominant. Some regions of the plane have the
minor positive-dominant trait instead, and those islands tend to
be inhabited.
• Enhanced magic. Spells and spell-like abilities that use positive
energy, including cure spells, are maximized (as if the Maximize
Spell metamagic feat had been used on them, but the spells
don’t require higher-level slots). Spells and spell-like abilities
that are already maximized are unaffected by this benefit.
Class abilities that use positive energy, such as turning and
destroying undead, gain a +10 bonus on the roll to determine Hit
Dice affected. (Undead are almost impossible to find on this plane,
however.)
• Impeded magic. Spells and spell-like abilities that use negative
energy (including inflict spells) are impeded.
Random Encounters: Because the Positive Energy Plane is
virtually devoid of creatures, random encounters on the plane are
exceedingly rare.

Example Positive Plane Site: Burst Cluster
Even among the brilliant and deadly radiance of the Positive
Energy Plane, some regions are more intense and dangerous than
others. These regions erupt like miniature suns, suddenly granting those within the burst radius (usually 30 feet, but occasionally
up to 120 feet) an additional 3d10 temporary hit points. The dangers of exceeding double one’s full normal hit points (as noted for
the positive-dominant trait) still apply.
In addition, those within an energy burst must make a DC 24
Fortitude save or be blinded for 1d10 rounds.
Ravids sometimes patrol the periphery of burst clusters, confident that their high speed will get them out of danger before a
burst makes them explode.

HEROIC DOMAINS OF YSGARD

158

Ysgard is a plane on an epic scale, with soaring mountains, deep
fjords, and dark caverns that hide the secret forges of the dwarves.
A biting wind always blows at a hero’s back. From the freezing
water channels to the sacred groves of Alfheim’s elves, Ysgard’s terrain is grand and terrible. It is a place of sharp seasons: Winter is a
time of darkness and killing cold, and a summer day is scorching
and clear.
Most spectacular of all, the landscape floats atop immense rivers
of earth flowing forever through an endless skyscape. The broadest
earthen rivers are the size of continents, while smaller sections,
called earthbergs, are island-sized. Fire rages under each river, but
only a reddish glow penetrates to the continent’s top. Of more concern is the occasional collision between rivers, which produces terrible quakes and sometimes spawns new mountain ranges.
Ysgard is the home of slain heroes who wage eternal battle on
fields of glory. When these warriors fall, they rise again the next
morning to continue eternal warfare.
The plane boasts two layers beneath the top layer, also called
Ysgard: the fiery caverns of Muspelheim and the underground
forests of Nidavellir.
Ysgard has the following traits.
• Infinite size. Ysgard goes on forever, but its well-known realms
have boundaries within the plane as a whole.
• Divinely morphic. Specific powerful beings (such as the deities
Kord and Olidammara) can alter Ysgard with a thought. Ordinary

creatures find Ysgard as easy to alter as the Material Plane is—
they can be affected by spells and physical effort normally. But
deities can change vast areas, creating great realms for themselves.
• No elemental traits. No one element dominates on Ysgard; all
are in balance, as on the Material Plane. However, parts of the
second layer, Muspelheim, are treated as if they possessed the
fire-dominant trait.
• Minor positive-dominant. Ysgard possesses a riotous explosion
of life in all its forms. All individuals on a positive-dominant
plane gain fast healing 2 and may even regrow lost limbs in
time. Additionally, those slain in the never-ending conflicts on
Ysgard’s fields of battle rise each morning as if true resurrection
had been cast on them, fully healed and ready to fight anew.
Only those who suffer mortal wounds on Ysgard’s battlefields
get the true resurrection effect; dead characters brought to Ysgard
don’t spontaneously revive.
• Mildly chaos-aligned. Lawful creatures on Ysgard take a –2 penalty on all Charisma-based checks.
Random Encounters: Use the Beatific Encounters table (page
167) for random encounters on Ysgard.

Example Ysgard Site: Plain of Ida
This great field is located near the great free city of Himinborg,
the largest population center on Ysgard’s top layer. The Plain of Ida
hosts daily festivals where warriors can flaunt their mettle. Here,
bravery and skill in battle is valued over all else. It’s also a battlefield where rival armies clash by day only to revel in Himinborg’s
taverns by night.
Characters who wind up on the Plain of Ida are as likely to be
thrust into the maelstrom of a battle as they are to explore the carnival atmosphere of a “festival of steel.”
To draw a map for a mass battle, use the battlefield guidelines in
the Plains Terrain section (see page 91). The combatants on the
Plain are generally mercenary companies that wander the Planes.
Because soldiers rise the next morning, the Plain of Ida is a useful
tool for units that want to hone their mass-battle skills.
Almost any kind of creature can be found on the battlefield. A
phalanx of dwarves might stand resolute against an assault by halfcelestial giants. A horde of slaadi might overrun githyanki mercenaries, only to be routed by dragon-mounted githyanki reinforcements. If the characters find themselves in the middle of a battle,
they’ll have to combine diplomacy with combat prowess to avoid
being crushed by both sides.
Major battles happen only one day in three, on average. Festivals are common on the other days, featuring a variety of
sideshows, midway booths, and merchants surrounding the main
event, which is always a test of martial prowess. Sword duels,
jousts on exotic steeds, wrestling matches, archery tourneys, and
even grand tugs-of-war are common on the Plain of Ida, with
many spectators and participants traveling from Himinborg. The
prizes are often substantial, but the competition is fierce. The festivals attract fairgoers from across the Great Wheel, so they always
offer diversions and intrigues for the less athletically minded.
With a guaranteed true resurrection if they fall, many characters
will find battles on the Plain of Ida too tempting to pass up. Defeat
still has its price, however, because victorious armies often loot
the bodies of the fallen. Some characters might lose but not technically die (being turned to stone, banished from the plane
entirely, or taken prisoner).

EVER-CHANGING CHAOS OF LIMBO
Limbo is a plane of pure chaos. Untended sections appear as a roiling soup of the four basic elements and all their combinations.
Balls of fire, pockets of air, chunks of earth, and waves of water
battle for ascendancy until they in turn are overcome by yet
another chaotic surge. Landscapes similar to ones found on the

There are two kinds of terrain in Limbo. The vast majority of the
plane is uncontrolled, raw Limbo, but here and there are islands
of more stable terrain—usually earth, but sometimes another
material.
Raw Limbo: To draw an encounter map of raw Limbo, scatter
irregular areas of fire, water, earth, and high winds across the grid.
As a rough guide, make each area roughly 40 feet square and put a
15-foot gap between areas. But because this is the plane of ultimate
chaos, you should vary widely from this guideline.
Roughly one-quarter of the areas are fire-dominant (dealing
3d10 points of damage per round and setting characters on fire),
one-quarter are water-dominant (essentially free-floating blobs of
water), one quarter are air-dominant tornadoes (as described on
page 94), and one-quarter are simply earth.
Every round, at initiative count 0, the areas of raw Limbo shift.
For each area, roll 1d8. This determines the direction that a particular area will shift, with 1 being back toward the top of the map
and 2 through 8 counting clockwise in 45-degree increments.
Then, shift the entire area 1d4 squares in that direction.
If fire-dominant and water-dominant areas overlap after the
shift, they cancel each other out within the area of the overlap,
changing the shape of both areas and leaving the area of the overlap
outside both areas. The same thing happens if an air-dominant and
earth-dominant area overlap. Other overlaps (fire and earth, for
example) have the full effects of both elements in the overlap area.
Stable Areas: Most of Limbo’s living inhabitants remain in
the stable areas free of the plane’s shifting elements. Often these
stable areas are chunks of earth and stone up to a half-mile across.
Occasionally a lake of stable water, or a massive, roiling firestorm
will appear.

Example Limbo Site: Monastery of Zerth’Ad’lun
One of many githzerai monasteries on the plane, Zerth’Ad’lun follows the teaching of Sensei Belthomias, a 16th-level monk.

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Limbo Terrain

Belthomias teaches a specialized martial art (as do many monasteries), and those students who fully embrace his teachings are
also called Zerth cenobites. Those who practice zerthi—“Zerth’s
teaching” in the githzerai tongue—claim to peer a moment into
the future in order to aid their martial expertise.
From the exterior, the monastery appears almost like a small
glade of stone spires and towers layered around a sphere about a
quarter-mile in diameter. Taking full advantage of the subjective
gravity of Limbo, the interior of the monastery has winding stairs
that connect “floors” to “walls” or “ceilings.” All the surfaces are
really floors for those who don’t mind adjusting their own subjective orientation.
Vast halls provide room for mass martial arts training, while
hundreds of tiny cells lighted by dim candles provide privacy for
individual meditations. The schedule of a monk at Zerth’Ad’lun is
strict and harsh, but the rewards of the spirit are considered sufficient compensation.
Mapping the monastery—even enough of it for an encounter—is difficult because the best frame of reference seems to
change from square to square. Simply throw in as many dungeon
elements as you can, making sure to rotate some and turn others
upside down. If the characters fight the monks of the monastery,
have the monks jump from ceiling to wall, using subjective gravity to right themselves when they land.
The monastery welcomes visitors and may put them up for as
long as a week in quarters set aside for hospitality. Nongithzerai
who are interested in studying at the monastery are allowed to do
so—Belthomias is impressed by any nongithzerai who can survive Limbo long enough to find the monastery. The supplicant
must be willing to spend a few months in the monastery learning
the basics and abiding the schedule of a cenobite. Then Belthomias poses a series of three tests, one of which involves fighting
slaadi, one of which involves controlling Limbo, and one of which
involves a quest to the Material Plane (often to the subterranean
homes of the mind flayers).

CHAPTER 5:

Material Plane drift through the miasma: bits of forest, meadow,
ruined castles, and small islands. Despite the plane’s inhospitable
environment, the slaadi and the githzerai call Limbo home.
Limbo has no layers. Or, if it does, the layers continually merge
and part, each is as chaotic as the next, and even the wisest sages
would be hard-pressed to distinguish one from another.
Limbo has the following traits.
• Subjective directional gravity.
• Highly morphic. Limbo is continually changing, and keeping a
particular area stable is difficult. A given area, unless magically
stabilized somehow, can react to specific spells or sentient
thought. Left alone, it continually changes. For more information, see Raw Limbo under Limbo Terrain, below.
• Sporadic element-dominant. No one element constantly dominates Limbo. Each element (air, earth, fire, and water) is dominant from time to time, so any given area is a chaotic, dangerous
boil. The elemental dominance can change without warning.
• Strongly chaos-aligned. This trait does not apply within the
walls of githzerai monasteries (but it does apply in githzerai
cities).
• Wild magic. Spells and spell-like abilities function normally
within permanent structures or on permanently stabilized
landscapes in Limbo. However, any spell or spell-like ability
used in an untended area of Limbo, or an area temporarily
controlled, has a chance to go awry. The spellcaster must make
a level check (1d20 + spellcaster level) against a DC of 20 + the
level of the attempted spell. If the caster fails the check, roll on
the table on page 150 to determine the exact effect.
Random Encounters: Alternate between the Beatific Encounters table and the Abyssal Encounters table (page 167) for random
encounters in Limbo.

WINDSWEPT DEPTHS OF PANDEMONIUM
Pandemonium is a great mass of matter pierced by innumerable
tunnels carved by the howling winds of the plane. It is windy,
noisy, and dark, having no natural source of light. The wind quickly
extinguishes normal fires, and lights that last longer draw the
attention of wights driven insane by the constant howling wind.
Every word, scream, or shout is caught by the wind and flung
through all the layers of the plane. Conversation is accomplished
by shouting, and even then words are spirited away by the wind
before they travel farther than 10 feet.
The stale wind of Pandemonium is cold, and it steals heat from
unprotected travelers. The endless gale buffets each inhabitant,
blowing sand and dirt into eyes, snuffing torches, and carrying
away loose items. In some places, the wind howls so fiercely that it
lifts creatures off their feet and carries them for miles before dashing their forms against some dark cliff face.
In a few relatively sheltered places, the wind dies down to just a
breeze carrying haunting echoes from distant parts of the plane,
though these sounds are so distorted that they sound like cries
of torment.
Pandemonium has four layers: Pandesmos, Cocytus, Phlegethon, and Agathion. Pandesmos, the highest layer, has large caverns and passageways, with Cocytus and Phlegethon having progressively smaller and more rugged caverns. Agathion has only
isolated caverns, with no tunnels linking them.
Pandemonium has the following traits.
• Objective directional gravity. In the cavernous tunnels of
Pandemonium, gravity is oriented toward whatever wall a creature is nearest. Thus, there is no normal concept of floor, wall and
ceiling—any surface is a floor if you’re near enough to it. Rare
narrow tunnels exactly cancel out gravity, allowing a traveler to

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shoot through them at incredible speed. The layer of Phlegethon
is an exception—there, the normal gravity trait applies.
• Divinely morphic. Specific powerful beings such as the deity
Erythnul can alter Pandemonium. Ordinary creatures find
Pandemonium indistinguishable from the Material Plane (it
has the alterable morphic trait for them, in other words). Spells
and physical effort affect Pandemonium normally.
• Mildly chaos-aligned.
Random Encounters: Use the Abyssal Encounters table (page
167) for random encounters in Pandemonium.

Example Pandemonium Site: Howler’s Crag
Howler’s Crag is a jumbled pile of stones, boulders, and worked
stone, as if a giant’s palace had collapsed in on itself, standing in
the center of Cocytus. The Crag’s top is a mostly level platform
about 10 feet in diameter, with a low wall surrounding it. The platform and those on it glow with an ephemeral blue radiance. The
lower reaches of the Crag are riddled with small burrows. Some
are dead ends, but others connect. The wall of every burrow is covered with writing in lost alphabets that supposedly spells out
strange psalms, liturgies, and strings of numerals or formulas.
Natives of Pandemonium say that anything yelled aloud from
the top of the Crag finds the ears of the intended recipient, no
matter where that recipient is on the Great Wheel. The words of
the message are borne on a shrieking, frigid wind.
Demons of various sorts have learned that visitors constantly
trickle to the Crag. The visitors are usually archaeologists, diviners, or those wishing to send a message to some lost friend or
enemy. Most become the prey of the ambushing fiends.
Howler’s Crag is large enough to provide its own gravity; characters can simply walk up it without needing to climb. To make an
encounter map for Howler’s Crag, draw it as if the Crag were the
floor (covered in dense rubble; see page 90). Include a number of
burrows, which are each 10 feet in diameter. The fiends that
waylay travelers (often hezrous and nalfeshnees) will emerge from
the burrows when they sense the presence of visitors.
As elsewhere on Pandemonium, a fight on Howler’s Crag takes
place among strong winds. Attacks with ranged weapons have a –2
penalty due to the winds, and a Tiny or smaller creature must succeed on a DC 10 Fortitude save each round or be knocked down.
Sometimes the winds that buffet Howler’s Crag are even more
powerful. For the effects of stronger winds on combat, see page 95.

INFINITE LAYERS OF THE ABYSS
The Abyss is all that is ugly, all that is evil, and all that is chaotic
reflected in infinite variety through layers beyond counting. Its
virtually endless layers spiral downward into ever more atrocious
forms. Conventional wisdom places the number of layers of the
Abyss at 666, though there may be far more. The whole point of
the Abyss, after all, is that it’s far more terrible than conventional
wisdom could ever encompass.
Each layer of the Abyss has its own unique, horrific environment. No theme unifies the multifarious layers other than their
harsh, inhospitable nature. Lakes of caustic acid, clouds of noxious fumes, caverns of razor-sharp spikes, and landscapes of
magma are all possibilities. So are less immediately deadly terrains such as parched salt deserts, subtly poisonous winds, and
plains of biting insects.
The Abyss is home to demons, creatures devoted to death and
destruction. A demon in the Abyss looks upon visitors as food or a
source of amusement. Some see powerful visitors as potential
recruits (willing or not) in the never-ending war that pits demons
against devils, known as the Blood War.
The Abyss has the following traits.
• Normal gravity. The top layer of the Abyss (called the Plain of
Infinite Portals) and many other layers have the normal gravity trait, but other layers of the Abyss can contain different
gravity traits.
• Normal time. Time flows at the same rate in the Abyss as on the
Material Plane. However, rumors persist of a layer where time
flows backward with regard to aging. The reverse flow is erratic,
however, and a visitor could be reverse-aged to childhood or
out of existence altogether.
• Divinely morphic. Entities at least as powerful as lesser deities
can alter the Abyss. Less powerful creatures find the Abyss
indistinguishable from a normal Material Plane (the alterable
morphic trait) in that the plane can be changed by spells and
physical effort.
• Mixed elemental and energy traits. This trait varies widely from
layer to layer. In the Abyss as a whole, no one element or type of
energy constantly dominates, though certain layers have a dominant element or energy, or a mixture of two or more.
• Mildly chaos-aligned and mildly evil-aligned.
Random Encounters: Use the Abyssal Encounters table (page
167) for random encounters in the Abyss.
Demon armies battle in the Abyss.

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Random Abyssal Layers
What if your characters wind up being sent to the Abyss as a
result of an adventure gone wrong? Or what if they flee powerful
demons by jumping through the nearest portal?
Use the following table to randomly determine the general
characteristics of an unknown layer. If desired, roll twice (or
more) and combine the results.

Example Abyss Site: Demonweb Pits
The 66th layer of the Abyss is home to Lolth, the Spider Queen.
The plane folds in upon itself so that it resembles a great web. A
dizzying array of web pathways interconnect with fractal complexity. Each strand is strung with portals onto the planes where
Lolth is worshiped. Lolth’s palace is said to be a mobile iron
stronghold shaped like a spider, perpetually crawling across her
planar web.
To draw an encounter map for the Demonweb Pits, design a
crisscrossing network of 20-foot-wide walkways suspended magically in vast cloud of solid fog (as the spell). The fog stays 1d4×10
feet away from the pathways, so characters can sometimes glimpse
other parts of the web that are above, below, or to the side of the
path they’re walking on.
The web twists and turns in on itself, but it always appears perfectly level, even when it corkscrews upward or downward. It’s
possible to make four right turns and wind up underneath the
point where you started, without encountering a slope or stairs.
Characters who fall—or are bull rushed—off a walkway fall at
only 60 feet per round (as the feather fall spell), and they take no
damage when they land on another walkway (which might be
miles below where they started).

TARTERIAN DEPTHS OF CARCERI
The prison plane of Carceri seems the least overtly dangerous of
the lower planes, but that first impression quickly disappears. Acid
seas and sulfurous atmospheres may be rare on this plane, and no
areas of biting cold or infernos of raging heat exist. The danger of
Carceri is a subtler thing.
The plane is a place of darkness and despair, of passions and
poisons, and of kingdom-shattering betrayals. On Carceri,
hatreds run like a deep, slow-moving river. And there’s no telling
what the flood of treachery is going to consume next. It is said
that a prisoner on Carceri may only escape when she has become
stronger than whatever imprisoned her there. That’s a difficult
task on a plane whose very nature breeds despair, betrayal, and
self-hatred.

CAMPAIGNS

Type of Layer
Air-dominant
Blood War battleground (demons against devils)
Burning hellscape (mix of magma and stone)
Demonic city
Desert of sand, ice, salt, or ash
Earth-dominant
Fire-dominant
Fetid swamp (filled with predators)
Mixed element-dominant (as Limbo)
Mountainous
Negative-dominant (minor or major)
Normal (as the Material Plane)
Ocean of water
Realm of powerful Abyssal entity
Sea of acid
Sea of insects
Sea of blood
Subterranean
Undead realm
Water-dominant

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d%
01–05
06–10
11–15
16–20
21–25
26–30
31–35
36–40
41–45
46–50
51–55
56–60
61–65
66–70
71–75
76–80
81–85
86–90
91–95
96–100

Carceri consists of six layers: Orthrys, Cathrys, Minethys,
Colothys, Porphratys, and Agathys. Each layer consists of a series
of orbs like tiny planets. A gulf of air separates each orb from the
next. On a particular layer, little distinguishes one orb from the
next, and it’s possible that the number of orblike planets on each
layer is infinite.
Carceri has the following traits.
• Normal gravity. On the orbs, gravity is normal. Between orbs,
there is no gravity, which eases travel for those who can fly
beyond the clutches of each orb’s gravity.
• Divinely morphic. Nerull and any other entity of lesser deity
status or greater can alter Carceri. More ordinary creatures find
Carceri indistinguishable from the Material Plane; it responds
to spells and physical effort normally.
• Mildly evil-aligned.
Random Encounters: Use the Abyssal Encounters table (page
167) for random encounters on Carceri.

Example Carceri Site: Sand Tombs of Payratheon
Payratheon is the name of a vanished city built on an orb of
Minethys eons ago. That city is long bu