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Dungeons & Dragons: SAGE ADVICE: BOOK UPDATES


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Sage Advice is a series of articles in which Jeremy Crawford, one of the D&D Studio’s game design architects, talks about the design of the game’s rules and answers questions about them.

D&D books occasionally receive corrections and other updates to their rules and story. This Sage Advice installment presents updates to several books. I then answer a handful of rules questions, focusing on queries related to Fizban’s Treasury of Dragons and Strixhaven: A Curriculum of Chaos.


ERRATA PDFS

Over the past year, several D&D books have been tweaked. The following errata PDFs list changes to those books:

The changes in those PDFs appear in recent printings of the affected books, and the changes will also appear on D&D Beyond and anywhere else the books are available digitally.


DROW

A notable change in the errata docs above is the revised text for drow in the Player’s Handbook:

As a drow, you are infused with the magic of the Underdark, an underground realm of wonders and horrors rarely seen on the surface above. You are at home in shadows and, thanks to your innate magic, learn to conjure forth both light and darkness. Your kin tend to have stark white hair and grayish skin of many hues.

The cult of the god Lolth, Queen of Spiders, has corrupted some of the oldest drow cities, especially in the worlds of Oerth and Toril. Eberron, Krynn, and other realms have escaped the cult’s influence—for now. Wherever the cult lurks, drow heroes stand on the front lines in the war against it, seeking to sunder Lolth’s web.

This new text replaces a description that confused the culture of Menzoberranzan—a city in the grip of Lolth’s cult in the Forgotten Realms—with drow themselves. The new text more accurately describes the place of drow in the D&D multiverse and correctly situates them among the other branches of the elf family, each of which was shaped by an environment in the earliest days of the multiverse: forests (wood elves), places of ancient magic on the Material Plane (high elves), oceans (sea elves), the Feywild (eladrin), the Shadowfell (shadar-kai), and the Underdark (drow). Drow are united by an ancestral connection to the Underdark, not by worship of Lolth—a god some of them have never heard of.


RULES QUESTIONS

Recent books include monster stat blocks—like the dragon blessed in Fizban’s Treasury of Dragons and the Silverquill apprentice in Strixhaven: A Curriculum of Chaos—that contain actions designated as spell attacks, rather than weapon attacks. What was the motivation for adding this type of action to the game? This type of action isn’t new. Monsters have had spell attacks since the Monster Manual (2014). See the lich’s Paralyzing Touch action and the cambion’s Fire Ray action for other examples of actions that are spell attacks. As discussed in the introduction of the Monster Manual (page 10), a monster’s attack action is designated as either a weapon attack or a spell attack.

Is a spell attack a spell? No. The game has two types of attacks—weapon attacks and spell attacks—so a spell attack is a type of attack, not a type of spell. Sometimes a spell attack is part of a spell, as in the fire bolt spell, but other times a spell attack occurs outside a spell, as in the specter’s Life Drain attack in the Monster Manual.

When a monster casts a spell without using spell slots, how do I know the spell’s level? A spell’s level is specified in the spell’s description. For example, the description of fireball says it’s a 3rd-level spell. If you cast spells using spell slots, you get the additional option of temporarily increasing a spell’s level by expending a spell lot of a higher level to cast the spell.

Can the silvery barbs spell in Strixhaven affect Legendary Resistance? No. When a creature uses Legendary Resistance, the creature turns a failed saving throw into a success, regardless of the number rolled on the d20. Forcing that creature to reroll the d20 afterward doesn’t change the fact that the save succeeded as a result of Legendary Resistance. No amount of rerolling will undo that success.


SAGE ADVICE COMPENDIUM

Curious how certain rules are intended to work in D&D? Check out the game’s FAQ, the Sage Advice Compendium. The compendium also includes links to errata PDFs for some of the game’s books.

Publication date: 
12/13/2021
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https://media.wizards.com/2021/dnd/downloads/SA-Compendium.pdf
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Sage Advice Compendium
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