Terms, Glossary


ABILITY MODIFIER (ABILITY MOD)

: A number you add to your die rolls based on how good your ability scores are. The Ability Mods are STR Mod, DEX Mod, CON Mod, INT Mod, WIS Mod, and CHA Mod. Ability Mods go from –5 to +5. Higher is better. You figure out your Ability Mods.

ABILITY SCORE:

The six numbers that represent your raw physical and mental talent—Strength, Dexterity, Constitution, Intelligence, Wisdom, and Charisma. Ability scores go from 1 to 20. Higher is better. Once you roll your ability scores, you can figure out your Ability Modifiers (after that, you almost never use your ability scores for anything).

ACTIONS:

On your turn, you can take up to three actions—a standard action, a move action, and a free action. Click here for explanations and examples for all three types of actions..

ADJACENT:

Right next to each other. On the game map, a creature is adjacent to you if its square’s edge touches your square’s edge or its corner touches your square’s corner.

ALIGNMENT:

Your character’s general morals and attitude. You may believe in following all the rules, breaking the rules when you feel like it, or something in between.

ARMOR CLASS:

A number representing how hard it is to hit and hurt you with an attack. Higher numbers are better. An average unarmored person is AC 10.

ATTACK:

A d20 roll to try and hit your opponent  (see here). Attacks may be melee (up close) or ranged (10 or more feet away). Higher rolls are better.

CHECK:

A d20 roll you make when using a skill (called a “skill check”) or natural talent (called an “ability check”). Higher rolls are better.

CLASS:

A player character’s heroic profession—cleric (a priest with magical powers), fighter (someone skilled at war, weapons, and armor), rogue (a sneaky, skillful person), or wizard (a student of magical knowledge).

CLASS LEVEL:

How powerful a character is in his or her class. All new adventurers start at class level 1, and as you complete quests and slay monsters you gain experience points and become more powerful.

DIFFICULTY CLASS (DC):

A number representing how hard a task is. When you roll to attack, resist a spell, or use a skill, you must roll equal to or higher than the difficulty class of that task. Easy tasks are DC 5, average tasks are DC 10, and hard tasks are DC 20 or higher.

EXPERIENCE POINTS (XP):

A measure of how well you are doing as an adventurer. If you gain enough XP, you gain another class level (also called “leveling up”).

FEAT:

A special trick you know or a talent you have that makes you better at something than the average person, such as being a fast runner or resistant to mind control.

GAME MASTER (GM):

The person controlling the monsters and describing the world you’re adventuring in.

HIT POINTS (HP):

The amount of damage your character can take before you go unconscious.

MASTERWORK:

A particularly finely crafted weapon (see here).

MELEE:

A hand-to-hand attack (rather than a ranged attack like a bow or a thrown dagger). On the game map, you can only make a melee attack if you are adjacent to your opponent. The word is pronounced “MAY-lay.”

NATURAL 1:

When you roll 1d20 and it comes up a 1. It’s only a “natural 1” if that’s the number on the die—if you roll a 5 and you have a –4 penalty on your roll, it’s just a 1, not a “natural 1.” If you roll a natural 1 on an attack roll or saving throw, you automatically fail.

NATURAL 20:

When you roll 1d20 and it comes up a 20. It’s only a “natural 20” if that’s the number on the die—if you roll a 16 and you have a +4 bonus on your roll, it’s just a 20, not a “natural 20.” If you roll a natural 20 on an attack roll or saving throw, you automatically succeed.

NON-PLAYER CHARACTER (NPC):

Any character in the world controlled by the Game Master (innkeepers, goblins, and so on).

PLAYER:

You and every other person playing the game who isn’t the Game Master.

PLAYER CHARACTER (PC):

A character (sometimes called a toon or avatar) in the game world controlled by a player.

RACE:

A type of intelligent, civilized creature, such as a dwarf, elf, or human.

RANGED:

An attack made at a distance, such as shooting a crossbow or throwing a dagger.

SAVING THROW (SAVE):

A 1d20 roll you make to resist a spell or special attack. Fortitude saves are for things you can resist by being tough, like poison. Reflex saves are for things you can resist by being agile, like traps and explosions. Will saves are for things you can resist with the power of your mind, like fear and mind control. Higher rolls are better.

SKILL:

Something you can learn to do and get better at over time, like climbing, picking locks, or swimming.

TOUCH ATTACK:

A kind of attack where you only have to touch a creature for it to work, instead of having to hit the creature hard enough to get through its armor, shield, and magical protections. A touch attack could be a melee attack or a ranged attack, depending on what you’re doing.

UNDEAD:

A dead creature animated by a supernatural force, such as a zombie, vampire, or walking skeleton.
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