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Terminology

Even if you are well-versed in 5th Edition Dungeons and Dragons, there are some terms I use that you might be familiar with. This is caused by a combination of me starting out with 4th Edition, which still comes into play in some parts, as well as my tendency to stick to Stunk and White’s The Elements of Style. Not only does that trump any millennial feels, it also insists that I keep my terms as short as possible and still be understandable. Nevertheless, the need for reminder text and this page to ensure that you understand what I’m writing about is a good idea.

# a Rest or # a Day

Some features will have a ratio like 1/Rest or 3/Day. In here, 'Rest' means any Rest, Short of Long; while 'Day' means the whole adventuring day, in between Long Rests.

Abilities

The Ability score is referred to by its full name and the Ability modifier by its abbreviation. For example, a PC with a Charisma of 15 has a CHA of +2

Actions in a Turn

There are some instances where the Fourth Edition list of {Move, Minor, Standard} is still mentioned, where the Minor is used by anything that requires a Bonus Action. Because of this, ‘Bonus’ and ‘Minor’ mean the same thing.

You can convert a Standard Action into a Move, and a Move action into a Minor.

Area of Effects

I still use the Fourth Edition syntax when it comes to describing Areas of Effect, especially for Spells. This might be confusing to some that aren't knowledgeable of this particular lingo, but once you do it makes designating Areas in texts a bit easier to understand. Not to mention less wordy.

Target X: Targeting up to X people with this spell.

Area Burst X within Y: The word ‘Area’ can be replaced with the shape of the area. The x is the diameter of the area, and y is the range of the spell. You create an area X feet wide within y feet.

Area Blast X: Like with before, ‘area’ can be replaced by the area’s shape. ‘Blast’ means that the spell originates from the caster, and the effect begins from (but not including) the caster. The caster can aim the spell's effect as expected. Cone Blast 15 means that your character produces a cone-shaped area of effect from him.

Area Burst X: It's important to know the difference between 'Blast' and 'Burst'. With 'Burst,' the area of effect is centered on yourself and extends in x radius. Circle Burst 30 means that the area is a circle with you on the center and including everything 30 feet from you.

Book References

In some passages, an Acronym and a Number is mentioned. This is a page reference to a certain Wizards of the Coast Publication. The number is the page referenced in the acronym's respective book:

  • ÆMag## = Æthercoil Magazine (Not a WotC Publication, but still referenced.) Number is the Issue and will have a link.
  • BRdm = Dungeon Master's Basic Rules
  • BRp = Player's Basic Rules
  • COS = Curse of Strahd
  • DMG = Dungeon Master's Guide
  • EE = Elemental Evil Player's Companion
  • HotDQ = Hoard of the Dragon Queen
  • LMoP = Lost Mine of Phandelver
  • MM = Monster Manual
  • OotA = Out of the Abyss
  • PH = Player's Handbook
  • PotA = Princes of the Apocalypse
  • RoT = The Rise of Tiamat
  • SCAG = Sword Coast Adventurer's Guide
  • SRD = System Resource Documnet
  • SS = Starter Set Rulebook
  • STK = Storm King's Thunder
  • TftYP = Tales from the Yawning Portal
  • UA## = Unearthed Arcana (a sequental number is included, with a link.)
  • VGtM = Volo's Guide to Monsters

Cascade

A term taken from Magic: The Gathering Cascading Dice is another way of saying Exploding Dice, where a roll of a maximum amount on a given dice results in another dice of the same type added to the roll. Say a Cascading 2d6 roll gave a 2 and a 6; an additional d6 is added to that roll. This can continue for as long as 6s are rolled.

Chunkied

I am not an overly cruel DM. I don’t do permadeath; I instead have an injury die in the case of TPKs or have them captured or stripped of people’s items. However, I do have the “Chunky Salsa Rule:” Any situation that would reduce a character's head and/or torso to the consistency of chunky salsa dip is fatal, regardless of other rules. People who watched Force Grey: Giant Hunters knows what I’m talking about.

According to the standard 5th Edition rules, any amount of damage that a) Reduces a person to zero HP and b) the remaining damage is equal or more than the max HP of the character, that character is Chunkied. Chunkied PCs cannot be brought back to life by anything short of the Wish spell.

Distances

When a distance is shown as just a number, it's denoted as feet. In some cases, x Squares is mentioned. Using a traditional encounter map, a Square is 5 Feet across.

Formulas and Dice Notation

There are some points where Basic Algebra is required, especially with more technical mechanics, like the Homesteading Mechanic. They will be writen in a code-like format, and put in an appropiate style, to make things easier. These includes dice rules, which will use a basic notation often used in Roll20.

Some light use of functions familiar with those who use Microsoft Excel is included as well, and below is a list of used functions:

  • INT(): Take the computation of what is in the Perenthesis, and round down to the cordial number.
  • AVG(): Take the Average of all items in this list
  • {}: The contents between these braces is known in programming circles as an Array, and is sometimes used to designate short lists.
    • This differs from the traditional use of brackets ('[]',) because I use brackets for hypertext roles when writing my first drafts.

Kicker

A term taken from Magic: The Gathering, 'Kicker' is another way of saying "At Higher Levels" when it comes to spell descriptions. You 'kick' a spell by casting it with a higher spell slot or adding an additional spell point to the spell cast. The description activates for every level of spell slot beyond the spell's level or each additional spell point used.

Pronouns

Look, I know that there are two sexes and, according to some people, a metric bleepton of genders. However, identifying myself as a writer, the Elements of Style, and every spelling and grammar checker I have on my computer insist that I keep to cisgender binary pronouns and, unless I’m sure I’m talking about what I believe is a woman, default to ‘He,’ ‘Him,’ and ‘His.’

Cope.

Senses and Movement

Senses are denoted by the kind of sense followed by a number, which is the length of the Sense in feet. For example, Darkvision 60 denotes that a person has Darkvision of a distance of 60 feet. Same goes for movement; a Creature with Fly 80 can Fly up to 80 feet in a turn.

Token Use

Combat is depicted using tokens and more often than not an “Instant Action Grid” of a blank map. Monsters are depicted with generic numbered and colored tokens. This removes the need for carrying or creating hundreds of different tokens or figures.

Flanking

There is a variant rule for Flanking that is listed in the House Rules.