Posts by Hannah Rose

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Mastering the Mechanics: Roll for Initiative

Let’s examine the “rules as written” regarding initiative: “Initiative determines the order of turns during combat. When combat starts, every participant makes a Dexterity check to determine their place in the initiative order. The GM makes one roll for an entire group of identical creatures, so each member of the group acts at the same …

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Mastering the Mechanics: Bonus Actions

Bonus actions are easily one of the most confusing parts of a combat turn in 5th Edition. In fact, designer Mike Mearls dislikes bonus actions and has declared that they are “fairly hacky” and that he prefers to run games without them. So why do bonus actions exist, and how can we understand them? To …

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Mastering the Mechanics: Features that Decrease Damage

I recently played in an Adventurer’s League game (at D&D Live 2019) where the GM accidentally gave our war machine damage reduction 20 instead of a damage threshold of 20. This is an easy mistake to make, especially for those used to older editions, but it made a big difference in the longevity of our …

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Designing with Style: Unlocking the Style Guide Using Thieves’ Tools

The Designing with Style series breaks down the official 5th Edition style guide to help designers create content that’s well-written, polished, and precise. Using consistent language for rules and mechanics makes it easier for new players to understand the game and helps to avoid confusion that slows play. For example, the range of hold person …

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