D&D QA Archive | 8/19/2002
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Official D&D Game Rule FAQ

Current FAQs for 4th Edition

If you're looking for the latest Rules FAQ, always be sure to consult our Knowledge Database.

D&D: The Basics

What is Dungeons & Dragons?
D&D is an imaginative, social experience that engages players in a rich fantasy world filled with larger-than-life heroes, deadly monsters, and diverse settings. As a hobby game, D&D is an ongoing activity to which players might devote hours of their time—much like a weekly poker game—getting together with friends on a regular basis for weeks, months and even years.

What is a roleplaying game?
The D&D game is a fantasy game of your imagination. It is part acting, part storytelling, part social interaction, part war game, and part chance. You and your friends create characters that develop and grow with each adventure they complete. One player is the Dungeon Master (DM). The DM controls the monsters and enemies, narrates the action, referees the game, and sets up the adventure. Together, the Dungeon Master and the players make the game come alive.

Who are the player characters?
Each player chooses the character that he or she plays. Your characters star in the adventures you play, just like the heroes of a book or movie. Each character has unique strengths, weakness, and abilities—yours might be a battle-seasoned warlord with a hundred campaigns under his belt, or a clever rogue with a quick wit and a quicker blade. You might be a ranger trained in survival techniques, or a wizard who has mastered the arcane arts. As your character participates in adventures, he or she gains experience and becomes more powerful.

What does the Dungeon Master do?
The Dungeon Master (DM) is the one who plays the "bad guys." He knows the secrets of the adventure, either because he has read the adventure that the players explore, or because he’s created that adventure himself.

How do I get started?
That’s easy. There are three ways to get started with D&D. You can find a group of friends who already play and join them; you can download our free "Test Drive" rules and adventure, gather your friends, and all try the game together; or you can dive right into the full rulebooks.

Joining a group that already plays D&D probably is the best way to get into the game. If that's not possible, then you'll want to download the Test Drive kit. We're so sure that you'll like D&D once you've tried it that we give away this material for free.

  • D&D Test Drive (rules and characters, plus the adventures Keep on the Shadowfell and Khyber's Harvest)

Once you discover how much fun D&D is, you'll want to check out the three core rulebooks:

You’ll also need a set of dice for each player, and miniatures to represent each of the player character and the monsters they’ll face.

Where can I find these materials?
All of the rulebooks, dice, and miniatures can be found at your friendly local gaming store (FLGS). For a list of these stores, consult our store locator.

You can also buy these materials online, from sites including www.amazon.com, www.barnesandnoble.com, or www.borders.com.

Where can I find adventures?
One person in your game needs to be the Dungeon Master, and will run the adventure. The rest of you will be the players, running your characters through the adventure. These adventures can be created by the DM himself or purchased from local retailers.

Our first published 4th Edition adventure, H1: Keep on the Shadowfell, provides an introductory adventure for characters level 1-3, followed thereafter by H2: Thunderspire Labyrinth for levels 4-6, and H3: Pyramid of Shadows for levels 7-10.

Dungeon Magazine, a subscription component of the D&D Insider website, also offers an ongoing selection of adventures across all levels, as well as advice for DMs and their games.

Where can I find a gaming group?
If you’re looking for fellow gamers to start up a new campaign, there are a number of different places you can turn. Wizards of the Coast hosts a message board, Gamer Classifieds, advertising groups in all areas of the country. Meetup.com also hosts gaming groups looking for new members.

For more organized games, visit this site's Events page or check out the D&D Community's group pages.

4th Edition

Why 4th Edition?
Refreshing a living game such as D&D is very important. Our understanding of what works best for today’s players is always evolving, and ignoring that would result in a stagnant game that few people play. We've been dreaming of and experimenting with ways to improve the game—from better rules to more exciting characters to great online tools—for years, and now we're finally ready to show folks the best Dungeons & Dragons game we've ever made.

When does 4th Edition release?
The three core rulebooks—the Player’s Handbook, Dungeon Master’s Guide and Monster Manual—release June 2008.

What are some of the notable changes to 4th Edition compared to 3.5?
The Design & Development column on D&D Insider is the best location to see the changes and developments that have gone into 4th Edition. This column offers a unique behind-the-scenes look at the making of the game, with members of the R&D Team sharing their insights and philosophies.

You can also pick up a copy of the two 4th Edition preview books, Wizards Presents: Races and Classes, and Wizards Presents: Worlds and Monsters.

Are there any conversion plans in place for transitioning 3.5 to 4th Edition?
We learned with 3rd Edition that accurate conversion really doesn't work. Thus, we're encouraging everyone to start at 1st level in 4th Edition and learn the new system from the ground up. While you'll certainly be able to reinvent many existing characters with the new system, there's no conversion guide that could adequately cover the vast array of options that have been published over the lifespan of the game.

With the introduction of 4th Edition, will existing 3.5 product be obsolete?
We are moving to a new edition, and the rulebooks that we’ll release from June 2008 forward will use the 4th Edition system. However, Dungeons & Dragons has always been a game involving campaign and world-building and your books from past editions still contain thousands of pages of information that you may consult when creating your world and/or updating your campaign. While there are no official plans to convert 3rd Edition material into 4th Edition, it is always possible to convert your favorite materials on your own.

That said, we’re also making sure that many products released before 4th Edition are “edition-proof,” meaning they can be used in any edition of the game (such as Grand History of the Realms). In addition, other 3.5 products (such a Exemplars of Evil and Elder Evils) will receive 4th Edition updates, via D&D Insider.

What campaign setting support will there be?
A new version of the Forgotten Realms campaign setting was released in August 2008. Eberron was released in July, 2009. Dark Sun is planned for some time in 2010. Beyond those, other campaign settings will receive some level of support in the future, but we’re still working on our plans.

3.5 Edition

Do you have questions about the D&D 3.5 Edition game rules? Download the official FAQ that best suits your needs. Each FAQ is presented in PDF format so that you can download it, print it, and take it to your game. They feature a date code in the footer so you can always be sure that you have the most current version. (These game rule FAQs do not cover errata found in the errata documents.)

NOTE: The FAQ files were last modified on the dates indicated in their filename; however, they may have been posted at a later date. These are the most recent versions of the FAQ files available. Any FAQs updated since the previous update will have the date listed in RED below.

v.3.5 FAQ

v.3.5 Main D&D FAQ
(includes questions for Character Races, Classes, and Feats)

3rd Edition FAQs

Main D&D FAQ
(includes questions for the Player's Handbook and Dungeon Master's Guide)
Monsters FAQ
(includes questions for Monster Manual and Monsters of Faerun)
Book of Vile Darknes s FAQ 01/19/2003
Defenders of the Faith FAQ 10/18/2002
Deities and Demigods FAQ
(includes questions for Deities and Demigods and Faiths and Pantheons)
Epic Level Handbook FAQ 04/04/2003
Forgotten Realms Campaign Setting FAQ
(includes questions for Forgotten Realms Campaign Setting and Magic of Faerun)
Manual of the Planes FAQ 10/18/2002
Masters of the Wild FAQ 10/18/2002
Oriental Adventures FAQ 04/04/2003
Psionics Handbook FAQ 10/18/2002
Song and Silence FAQ 03/29/2002
Sword and Fist FAQ 05/30/2003
Tome and Blood FAQ 05/30/2003

D&D Miniatures FAQ

Errata, FAQ, and Other Resources

Classic Downloads

2nd Edition to 3rd Edition Conversion Manual
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