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CREDITS D&D Lead Designers: Mike Mearls, jeremy Crawford

Dungeon Master's Guide Leads: Jeremy Crawford, Christopher Perkins, james Wyatt

Designers: Robert |. Schwalb, Rodney Thompson, Peter Lee

Editors: Scott Fitzgerald Gray, Michele Carter, Chris Sims, Jennifer Clarke Wilkes

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Based on the original D&D game created by E. Gary Gygax and Dave Árneson, with Brian Blume, Rob Kuntz, James Ward, and Don Kaye Drawing from further development by |. Eric Holmes, Tom Moldvay, Frank Mentzer, Aaron Alliston, Harold Johnson, David "Zeb" Cook, Ed Greenwood, Keith Baker, Tracy Hickman, Margaret Weis, Douglas Niles. Jeff Grubb, Jonathan Tweet, Monte Cook, Skip Williams, Richard Baker, Peter Adkison, Bill &Slavicsek, Andy Collins, and Rob Heinsoo

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Additional feedback provied by Teos Abadia, Robert Alaniz, jason Baxter, Bill Benham, Darron Bowley, David Callander, Mik Calow, Christopher D'Andrea, Brian Danford, Krupal Desai, Josh Dillard, Sam E. Simpson |r., Tim Eagon, David Ewalt, Rob Ford, Robert Fard, Jason Fuller, Pierce Gaithe, Richard Green, Christopher Hackler, Adam Hennebeck, Sterling Hershey, Paul Hughes, Gregory L. Harris, Yan Lacharité, Shane Leahy, Ryan Leary, Tom Lommel, Jonathan Longstaff, Rory Madden, Matt Maranda, Derek Mcintosh, Paul Melamed, Shawn Merwin, Lou Michelli, Mike Mihalas, David Milman, Daren Mitchell, Matthew Mosher, David Muller, Kevin Neff, Adam Page, John Proudfoot, Max Reichlin, Karl Resch, Matthew Rolston, Jason Romein, Sam Sherry, Pieter Sleijpen, Robin Stacey, David "Oak" Stark, Adam Strong-Morse, Arthur Wright

ON THE COVER

Tyler Jacobson illustrates the archlich Acererak as he raises an army of undead and prepares to unleash it on an unsuspecting world.

620A9219000001 EN ISBN: 978-0-7869-6562-5 First Printing: December 2014

987654321

Discleimer: Wizards of the Coast does mot offcially endorse the following tactics, Бейне aer poaneeteed to maximise your tnjayment às à Dumpeom Master, First, обат keep a straight face amd say ОК no maher how еле or deanad rhe player" pide ef acrisn iL Sete ms mature abut hoppers, pretend than pow intended alf піонер for everything io wafedd ibe way ii did. Thind, d you're not Sure whai ро do rest, fraga illness, end the tron early, arid plot pour ami mover. Wwe d eise fails, roll a bunch of dice bebiad pour screen, siudp tham for a moment with a look af deep concera mised with regret. let loose a heavy sigh, and amiounce that Tomdi параду jram tee sky and attacks.

DLUNGEONS & DRAGONS. DAD. Wizards of the Coast, Forgotten Realms, the Gragon amerad, Players Huündbaak, Maarte Manu, Dungeon Master's Guide, all other Wizards of the Coast produci names, and their respective орох are trademarks of "Wizards of the Coast in tee USA and other countries, All characters and their distinctive likenesses are property of Wizards of the Coast. This material is protected under the copyright lar of te ПА States of America. Any reproduction or unauthorized use of the material or artwork contained herein is prohibeted without the express written permission ol Wizards of the Coast

WI |

Printed in the USA $2014 Wizards of the Coast LLC, PO Boo 207, Renton, WA ВОЗОТ USA. Marulactured by Hasbro БА, Rive Emile-Bodchar 31, 2600 Геі тоаг, CH,

CONTENTS

INTRODUCTION 4 The Dungeon Master. eon rerier irasci él acad 4 How to Use This Book............. ORE ———— 4 Know Your Plays. 1... енне аана ——— à 6

PART 1 7

CHAPTER 1: A WORLD OF YOUR OWN .............. 9 The Big. Picture sis ааа санаанаасаа О Gods of Your World... ...10 Mapping Your а. ...14 Settlements ... PA ale Languages add DU Ul ATUS 20 Factions and Organtzaliols. o eoe etienne АД Magic in Your WOEId eese erre И ua с Creating a Сара, eee reorra arre nrt rrt mer Mt cp A Campaign BVents..... ac een я we 20 Ру UG LS оао анна Tiers OF Flayn ао OD Flavors of Fantasy „а... sap E A EAN 38

CHAPTER 2: CREATING A MULTIVERSE ......... 43 The си Ге СТИ ИЕРРИЕЕУ ЕТИ 43 Чапа? Travel. линии ep асаан rca 44 Astral Plate... MEN PETS wo 7. ТЕА ^4 46 Ptheresl PIS. анек а tinge PD ese ut 48 оу аана 8 С rri AES. 49 Бабо еї: nct iue UE ны Inner Planes лаана Outer Planes... Бе ев еее ВИЙ Other PI3n6e875 occae rane ции es ӨТ Known Worlds of the Material Plane: cen 68

PART 2 69

CHAPTER 3: CREATING ADVENTURES............ 71 Elements of a Great Adventure .................................. 7] Published Adventures... ceo T2 Adventure Structure ......... АС р о 72 Arcventüre Types... аналынан cuc nis T2 ComplicationS... ыыы: аркала от АЩ яна 79 Creating Encounters... нора Random РОО secet не

CHAPTER 4: CREATING NONPLAYER

CHARACTERS... eremi ыы 89 Desienins ND CSI е DIO NPC Party Member Saunen анны d Contacts... Ur 2s . 93 и ася ..94 а нах ненна we 94 Шаар A 94 Villainous Glass CBUODS еы 96

CHAPTER 5: ADVENTURE ENVIRONMENTS... 99 Dungeons.... PE HERR M Mapping a саса ВИЗИИ Е, Wilderness... у TI e NENNT ЗИ T6 Mapping a ЕСЕ uu nq E e. TES 108 Wilderness Survival... нона 109 Settlements................... EUREN О 112 Mapping a Settlement... eere conari otra rio 114

Urban Encounters..................... UA E м ее 114

Unusual Baviromon@ nts онаа 116 гарваас не ааа 120 CHAPTER 6: BETWEEN ADVENTURES.......... 125 Linking Adventures ............................. аа 125 Campaign таска... асал 126 Recurring Expenses енг ТЕОРЕ 126 ВОО ОБЩЕЕ ор ИОК soU wi aei ОР 127 CHAPTER 7: ТвЕАЅОВЕ........................ PIENO AG be Types of Treasure ....... ИРЕНЕ ОНИ 133 Randon Тено, ees au deri aE И „193 Масе: cde ll e Mt ИРИ, eee 135 Sentient Magic Items. SUI RI D COM an IE Е ГЕИ ИА. niat LN 219 Other Rewards ........................ Е 227 PART 3 233 CHAPTER 8: RUNNING THE GAME ................. 235 TAME RUGS. enaos eE AEEA A EAE EAEN S 235 The Role of Dice.......... XA REC не 236 Using Ability SCORES ues creer raten rauca aue Аа О o ro MM MEE С НИ С 242 Social Interaction: анаан ЕАН 244 Objects... 246 СОВА o лее a es 247 (SB Lees И О Е о Siege Equipment.. аан ОЕТ Е ace) [B rais Ez c Е Ва И ion Е reds 256 Poisons A т CMT, с РЬ аР И" 257 И А 258 Experience РОН ани ененнен E pese 0 Ou 260 CHAPTER 9: DUNGEON MASTER'S WORKSHOP иен UEM 263 ADH Орноосоо лаа 263 Adventuring Options...................... ess kore OO Cornibat ODIHOHBS ne eec reor raras cen ПН e ebur in а 270 Great A MOISET: нда аата АТ (crest tig d- Opel T penar ienes iee ВИ АН 283 Creating a Maric Gm... ose encor т а АВА Creating New Character Options... ни 285

APPENDIX А: RANDOM DUNGEONS 290

Starting Area .............. ре ана ыы: 290 290 о И ие Chambers dolo ed Ado CC PE co 291 SEIS Sec НН ЗЕ 291 Connect АЕ ааа 292 Stocking à Pun В О И 5,02 APPENDIX B: MONSTER LISTS 302 APPENDIX C: MAPS 310 APPENDIX D: DUNGEON MASTER INSPIRATION ger 316 INDEX | | j! "mo

INTRODUCTION

T'S GOOD TO BE THE DUNGEON MASTER! NOT ONLY do you get to tell fantastic stories about heroes, villains, monsters, and magic, but you also get to create the world in which these stories live. Whether you're running a D&D game already or you think it's something you want to try, this book is for you.

The Dungeon Master's Guide assumes that you know the basics of how to play the D&D tabletop roleplaying game. If you haven't played before, the DUNGEONS & DRAGONS Starter Set is a great starting point for new players and DMs.

This book has two important companions: the Players

Handbook, which contains the rules your players need to create characters and the rules you need to run the game, and the Monster Manual, which contains ready-to- use monsters to populate your D&D world.

IHE DUNGEON MASTER

The Dungeon Master (DM) is the creative force

behind a D&D game. The DM creates a world for the other players to explore, and also creates and runs adventures that drive the story. An adventure typically hinges on the successful completion of a quest, and

can be as short as a single game session. Longer adventures might embroil players in great conflicts that require multiple game sessions to resolve. When strung together, these adventures form an ongoing campaign. А D&D campaign can include dozens of adventures and last for months or years.

A Dungeon Master gets to wear many hats. As the architect of a campaign, the DM creates adventures by placing monsters, traps, and treasures for the other players characters (the adventurers) to discover. As a storyteller, the DM helps the other players visualize what's happening around them, improvising when the adventurers do something or go somewhere unexpected. As an actor, the DM plays the roles of the monsters and supporting characters, breathing life into them. And as a referee, the DM interprets the rules and decides when to abide by them and when to change them.

Inventing, writing. storytelling, improvising, acting, referecing—every DM handles these roles differently, and you'll probably enjoy some more than others. It helps to remember that DUNGEONS & DRAGONS is а hobby, and being the DM should be fun. Focus on the aspects you enjoy and downplay the rest. For example, if you don't like creating your own adventures, you can use published ones. You can also lean on the other players to help you with rules mastery and world-building.

The D&D rules help you and the other players have a good time, but the rules aren't in charge. You're the DM, and you are in charge of the game. That said, your goal isn't to slaughter the adventurers but to create a campaign world that revolves around their actions and decisions, and to keep your players coming back for more! If vou're lucky, the events of your campaign will echo in the memories of your players long after the final game session is concluded.

INTRODUCTION

How TO Use Tars Book

This book is organized in three parts. The first part helps you decide what kind of campaign you'd like to run. The second part helps you create the adventures— the stories—that will compose the campaign and

keep the players entertained from one game session

to the next. The last part helps you adjudicate the

rules of the game and modify them to suit the style of your campaign.

PART 1: MASTER OF WORLDS

Every DM is the creator of his or her own campaign world. Whether you invent a world, adapt a world from a favorite movie or novel, or use a published setting for the D&D game, you make that world your own over the course of a campaign.

The world where you set your campaign is one of countless worlds that make up the D&D multiverse,

a vast array of planes and worlds where adventures happen. Even if you're using an established world such as the Forgotten Realms, your campaign takes place

in a sort of mirror universe of the official setting where Forgotten Realms novels, game products, and digital games are assumed to take place. The world is yours to change às you see fit and yours to modify as you explore the consequences of the players' actions.

Your world is more than just a backdrop for adventures. Like Middle Earth, Westeros, and countless other fantasy worlds out there, it's a place to which you can escape and witness fantastic stories unfold. A well- designed and well-run world seems to flow around the adventurers, so that they feel part of something. instead of apart from it.

Consistency is a key to a believable fictional world. When the adventurers go back into town for supplies, they should encounter the same nonplayer characters (NPCs) they met before. Soon, they'll learn the barkeep's name, and he or she will remember theirs as well. Once vou have achieved this degree of consistency, you can provide an occasional change. If the adventurers come back to buy more horses at the stables, they might discover that the man who ran the place went back home to the large city over the hills, and now his niece runs the family business. That sort of change—one that has nothing to do with the adventurers directly, but one that they'll notice—makes the players feel as though their characters are part of a living world that changes and grows along with them.

Part 1 of this book is all about inventing your world. Chapter 1 asks what type of game you want to run, and helps you nail down a few important details about your world and its overarching conflicts. Chapter 2 helps you put your world in the greater context of the multiverse, expanding on the information presented in the Player's Handbook to discuss the planes of existence and the gods and how you can put them together to serve the needs of your campaign.

PART 2: MASTER OF ADVENTURES

Whether you write your own adventures or use published ones, expect to invest preparation time beyond the hours you spend at the gaming table. You'll need to carve out some free time to exercise your creativity as you invent compelling plots, create new NPCs, craft encounters, and think of clever ways to foreshadow story events yet to come.

Part 2 of this book is devoted to helping you create and run great adventures. Chapter 3 covers the basic elements of a D&D adventure, and chapter 4 helps you create memorable NPCs. Chapter 5 presents guidelines and advice for running adventures set in dungeons, the wilderness, and other locales, and chapter 6 covers the time between adventures. Chapter 7 is all about treasure, magic items, and special rewards that help keep the players invested in your campaign.

PART 3: MASTER OF RULES

DuNGEONS & DRAGONS isn't a head-to-head competition, but it needs someone who is impartial vet involved in the game to guarantee that everyone at the table plays by the rules. As the player who creates the game world and the adventures that take place within it, the DM is a natural fit to take on the referee role.

As a referee, the DM acts as a mediator between the rules and the players. А player tells the DM what he or she wants to do, and the DM determines whether it is successful or not, in some cases asking the plaver to make a die roll to determine success. For example, if a player wants his or her character to take a swing at an Orc, you say, "Make an attack roll” while looking up the one’s Armor Class.

The rules don't account for every possible situation that might arise during a typical D&D session. For

example, a player might want his or her character to hurl a brazier full of hot coals into a monster's face. How you determine the outcome of this action is up to you. You might tell the player to make a Strength check, while mentally setting the Difficulty Class (DC) at 15. If the Strength check is successful, vou then determine how a face full of hot coals affects the monster. You might decide that it deals 1d4 fire damage and imposes disadvantage on the monster's attack rolls until the end of its next turn. You roll the damage die (or let the player do it), and the game continues.

Sometimes mediating the rules means setting limits. If a player tells you, "I want to run up and attack the ore, but the character doesn't have enough movement to reach the orc, you say, "It's too far away to move up and still attack. What would vou like to do instead?" The player takes the information and comes up with a different plan.

To referee the rules, you need to know them. You don't have to memorize this book or the Player's Handbook, but you should have a clear idea of their contents so that, when a situation requires a ruling. vou know where to find the proper reference.

The Flayer's Handbook contains the main rules you need to play the game. Part 3 of this book offers a wealth of information to help you adjudicate the rules in a wide variety of situations. Chapter 8 presents advice for using attack rolls, ability checks, and saving throws. It also includes options appropriate for certain play styles and campaigns, including guidelines for using miniatures,

a system for handling chase scenes, and rules for madness. If you like to create your own stuff, such

as new monsters, races, and character backgrounds, chapter 9 shows you how. That chapter also contains optional rules for unusual situations or play styles, such as the use of firearms in a fantasy setting.

KNOw YOUR PLAYERS

The success of a D&D game hinges on your ability to entertain the other players at the game table. Whereas their role is to create characters (the protagonists of the campaign), breathe life into them, and help steer the campaign through their characters’ actions, your role is to keep the players (and yourself) interested and immersed in the world you've created, and to let their characters do awesome things.

Knowing what your players enjoy most about the D&D game helps you create and run adventures that they will enjoy and remember. Once you know which of the following activities each player in vour group enjoys the most, you can tailor adventures that satisfy your players' preferences as much as possible, thus keeping them engaged.

ACTING

Players who enjoy acting like getting into character and speaking in their characters’ voices. Roleplayers at heart, they enjoy social interactions with NPCs, monsters, and their fellow party members.

2

Engage players who like acting by ...

* giving them opportunities to develop their characters personalities and backgrounds.

* allowing them to interact regularly with NPCs.

adding roleplaying elements to combat encounters.

+ incorporating elements from their characters’ back- grounds into your adventures.

EXPLORING

Players who desire exploration want to experience the

wonders that a fantasy world has to offer. They want to know what's around the next corner or hill. They also like to find hidden clues and treasure.

Engage players who like exploration by ...

+ dropping clues that hint at things yet to come.

« letting them find things when they take the time to explore.

providing rich descriptions of exciting environments, and using interesting maps and props.

+ giving monsters secrets to uncover or cultural details to learn.

INSTIGATING

Player's who like to instigate action are eager to make things happen, even if that means taking perilous risks. They would rather rush headlong into danger and face the consequences than face boredom.

Engage players who like to instigate by ...

» allowing them to affect their surroundings.

: including things in your adventures to tempt them.

. letting their actions put the characters in a tight spot. including encounters with NPCs who are as feisty and unpredictable as they are.

INTRODUCTION

FIGHTING

Players who enjoy fantasy combat like kicking the tar out of villains and monsters. They look for any excuse to start a fight, favoring bold action over careful deliberation.

Engage players who like fighting by ...

« springing unexpected combat encounters on them.

vividly describing the havoc their characters wreak with their attacks and spells.

+ including combat encounters with large numbers of weak monsters.

- interrupting social interaction and exploration with combat.

OPTIMIZING

Players who enjoy optimizing their characters’ capabilities like to fine-tune their characters for peak combat performance by gaining levels, new features, and magic items. They welcome any opportunity to demonstrate their characters’ superiority.

Engage players who like optimization by ...

+ ensuring steady access to new abilities and spells.

- using desired magic items as adventure hooks.

» including encounters that let their characters shine.

+ providing quantifiable rewards, like experience points, for noncombat encounters.

PROBLEM SOLVING

Players who want to solve problems like to scrutinize NPC motivations, untangle a villains machinations, solve puzzles, and come up with plans.

Engage players who like to solve problems Бу...

» including encounters that emphasize problem-solving.

- rewarding planning and tactics with in-game benefits.

» occasionally allowing a smart plan to grant an easy win for the players.

* creating NPCs with complex motives.

STORYTELLING

Players who love storytelling want to contribute to a narrative, They like it when their characters are heavily invested in an unfolding story, and they enjoy encounters that are tied to and expand an overarching plot.

Engage players who like storytelling by ...

+ using their characters backgrounds to help shape the stories of the campaign.

making sure an encounter advances the story in some way.

+ making their characters actions help steer future events.

« giving NPCs ideals, bonds, and flaws that the adven- turers can exploit.

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8

OUR WORLD 15 THE SETTING FOR YOUR CAMPAIGN,

the place where adventures happen. Even

if you use an existing setting, such as the

Forgotten Realms, it becomes yours as you

set vour adventures there, create characters ч to inhabit it, and make changes to it over

the course of your campaign. This chapter is all about

building your world and then creating a campaign to

take place in it.

THE BIG PICTURE

This book. the Player's Handbook, and the Monster Manua! present the default assumptions for how the worlds of D&D work. Among the established settings of D&D, the Forgotten Realms, Greyhawk, Dragonlance, and Mystara don't stray very far from those assumptions. Settings such as Dark Sun, Eberron, Ravenloft, Spelljammer, and Planescape venture further away from that baseline. As you create vour own world, it's up to you to decide where on the spectrum you want your world to fall.

CORE ASSUMPTIONS The rules of the game are based on the following core

assumptions about the game world. Gods Oversee the World. The gods are real and

4M embody a variety of beliefs, with each god claiming

“| dominion over an aspect of the world, such as war,

| forests, or the sea. Gods exert influence over the world by granting divine magic to their followers and sending signs and portents to guide them. The follower of a god serves as an agent of that god in the world. The agent seeks to further the ideals of that god and defeat its rivals. While some folk might refuse to honor the gods, none can deny their existence.

Much of the World Is Untamed. Wild regions abound. City-states, confederacies, and kingdoms of various sizes dot the landscape, but beyond their borders the wilds crowd in. People know the area they live in well. They've heard stories of other places from merchants and travelers, but few know what lies beyond the mountains or in the depths of the great forest unless they've been there themselves.

The World Is Áncient. Empires rise and fall, leaving few places that have not been touched by imperial grandeur or decay. War, time, and natural forces eventually claim the mortal world, leaving it rich with places of adventure and mystery. Ancient civilizations and their knowledge survive in legends, magic items, and their ruins. Chaos and evil often follow an empire's collapse.

Conflict Shapes the World's History. Powerful individuals strive to make their mark on the world, and factions of like-minded individuals can alter the course of history. Factions include religions led by charismatic prophets, kingdoms ruled by lasting dynasties, and shadowy societies that seek to master long-lost magic. The influence of such factions waxes and wanes as

CHAPTER |: A WORLD OF YOUR OWN

they compete with each other for power. Some seek to preserve the world and usher in a golden age. Others strive toward evil ends, seeking to rule the world with an iron fist. Still others seek goals that range from

the practical to the esoteric, such as the accumulation of material wealth or the resurrection of a dead god. Whatever their goals, these factions inevitably collide, creating conflict that can steer the world's fate.

The World Is Magical. Practitioners of magic are relatively few in number, but they leave evidence of their craft everywhere. The magic can be as innocuous and commonplace as a potion that heals wounds to something much more rare and impressive, such as a levitating tower or a stone golem guarding the gates of a city. Beyond the realms of civilization are caches of magic items guarded by magic traps, as well as magicallv constructed dungeons inhabited by monsters created by magic, cursed by magic, or endowed with magical abilities.

IT's Your WORLD

In creating your campaign world, it helps to start with the core assumptions and consider how your setting might change them. The subsequent sections of this chapter address each element and give details on how to flesh out your world with gods, factions, and so forth.

The assumptions sketched out above aren't carved in stone. They inspire exciting D&D worlds full of adventure, but they're not the only set of assumptions that can do so. You can build an interesting campaign concept by altering one or more of those core assumptions, just as well-established D&D worlds have done. Ask yourself, "What if the standard assumptions werent true in my world?"

The World Is a Mundane Place. What if magic is rare and dangerous, and even adventurers have limited or no access to it? What if your campaign is set in a version of our own world's history?

The World Is New. What if your world is new, and the characters are the first of a long line of heroes?

The adventurers might be champions of the first great empires, such as the empires of Netheril and Cormanthor in the Forgotten Realms setting.

The World Is Known. What if the world is completely charted and mapped, right down to the "Here there be dragons" notations? What if great empires cover huge stretches of countryside, with clearly defined borders between them? The Five Nations of the Eberron setting were once part of a great empire, and magically aided travel between its cities is commonplace.

Monsters Are Uncommon. What if monsters are rare and terrifying? [n the Ravenloft setting, horrific domains are governed by monstrous rulers. The populace lives in perpetual terror of these darklords and their evil minions, but other monsters rarely trouble people's daily lives.

Magic Is Everywhere. What if every town is ruled by a powerful wizard? What if magic item shops are common? The Eberron setting makes the use of magic

CHAPTER 1 | л WORLD OF YOUR OWN

an everyday occurrence, as magical flying ships and trains carry travelers from one great city to another. Gods Inhabit the Land, or Are Entirely Absent. What if the gods regularly walk the earth? What if the characters can challenge them and seize their power? Or what if the gods are remote, and even angels never make contact with mortals? In the Dark Sun setting, the gods are extremely distant—perhaps nonexistent—and clerics rely instead on elemental power for their magic.

GODS OF YOUR WORLD

Appendix B of the Player's Handbook presents a number of pantheons (loose groupings of deities not united by a single doctrine or philosophy) for use in your game, including the gods of established D&D worlds and fantasy-historical pantheons. You can adopt one of these pantheons for your campaign, or pick and choose deities and ideas from them as you please. See "A Sample Pantheon" in this section for an example.

As far as the game's rules are concerned, it doesn't matter if your world has hundreds of deities or a church devoted to a single god. In rules terms, clerics choose domains, not deities, so your world can associate domains with deities in any way you choose.

LOOSE PANTHEONS

Most D&D worlds have a loose pantheon of gods. А multitude of deities rule the various aspects of existence, variously cooperating with and competing against one another to administer the affairs of the universe. People gather in public shrines to worship gods of life and wisdom, or meet in hidden places to venerate gods of deception or destruction.

Each deity in a pantheon has a portfolio and is responsible for advancing that portfolio. In the Greyhawk setting, Heironeous is a god of valor who

Dawn War DEITIES

Deity Alignment Asmodeus, god of tyranny LE Avandra, goddess of change and luck CG Bahamut, god of justice and nobility LG Bane, god of war and conquest LE Corellon, god of magic and the arts CG Erathis, goddess of civilization and invention LN Gruumsh, god of destruction CE loun, goddess of knowledge N Kord, god of strength and storms SCN Lolth, goddess of spiders and lies CE Melora, goddess of wilderness and the sea N Moradin, god of creation LG Pelor, god of the sun and agriculture NG Raven Queen, goddess of death LN Sehanine, goddess of the moon CG Tharizdun, god of madness CE Tiamat, goddess of wealth, greed, and vengeance LE Torog, god of the Underdark NE Vecna, god of evil secrets NE Zehir, god of darkness and poison CE

CHAPTER 1

A WORLD OF YOUR-OWN

calls clerics and paladins to his service and encourages them to spread the ideals of honorable warfare, chivalry, and justice in society. Even in the midst of his everlasting war with his brother Hextor, god of war and tyranny, Heironeous promotes his own portfolio: war fought nobly and in the cause of justice.

People in most D&D worlds are polytheistic, honoring deities of their own and acknowledging pantheons of other cultures. Individuals pay homage to various gods, regardless of alignment. In the Forgotten Realms, a person might propitiate Umberlee before setting out to sea, join a communal feast to celebrate Chauntea at harvest time, and pray to Malar before going hunting.

Some individuals feel a calling to a particular deity's service and claim that god as a patron. Particularly devoted individuals become priests by setting up a shrine or helping to staff a holy site. Much more rarely, those who feel such a calling become clerics or paladins invested with the responsibility of true divine power.

Shrines and temples serve as community gathering points for religious rites and festivals. Priests at such sites relate stories of the gods, teach the ethics of their patron deities, offer advice and blessings, perform religious rites, and provide training in activities their deities favor. Cities and large towns can host several temples dedicated to individual gods important to the community, while smaller settlements might have a single shrine devoted to any gods the locals revere.

To quickly build a pantheon for your world, create a single god for each of the eight domains available to clerics: Death, Knowledge, Life, Light, Nature, Tempest, Trickery, and War. You can invent names and personalities for these deities, or borrow deities from other pantheons. This approach gives you a small pantheon that covers the most significant aspects of existence, and it's easy enough to extrapolate other areas of life each deity controls. The god of Knowledge,

Suggested Domains Symbol

Trickery Three triangles in tight formation Trickery Three stacked wavy lines

Life, War Dragon's head, in profile, facing left War Claw with three talons pointing down Light Eight-pointed star

Knowledge Upper half of a clockwork gear Tempest, War Triangular eye with bony protrusions Knowledge Crook shaped like a stylized eye Tempest Sword with a lightning bolt cross guard Trickery Eight-pointed star with a web motif

Wavelike swirl Flaming anvil

Mature, Tempest Knowledge, War

Life, Light Circle with six outwardly radiating points Life, Death Raven's head, in profile, facing left Trickery Crescent moon

Trickery Jagged counter-clockwise spiral

Trickery, War Five-pointed star with curved points Death T attached to a circular shackle

Partially shattered one-eyed skull Snake in the shape of a dagger

Death, Knowledge Trickery, Death

for example, might also be patron of magic and prophecy, while the god of Light could be the sun god and the god of time.

A SAMPLE PANTHEON

The pantheon of the Dawn War is an example of a pantheon assembled from mostly preexisting elements to suit the needs of a particular campaign. This is

the default pantheon in the fourth edition Player s Handbook (2008). The pantheon is summarized in the Dawn War Deities table.

This pantheon draws in several nonhuman deities and establishes them as universal gods. These gods include Bahamut, Corellon, Gruumsh, Lolth, Moradin, Sehanine, and Tiamat. Humans worship Moradin and Corellon as gods of their respective portfolios, rather than as racial deities. The pantheon also includes the archdevil Asmodeus as god of domination and tyranny.

Several of the gods are drawn from other pantheons, sometimes with new names for the gods. Bane comes from the Forgotten Realms. From Greyhawk come Кога, Pelor, Tharizdun, and Vecna. From the Greek pantheon come Athena (renamed Erathis) and Tyche (renamed Avandra), though both are altered. Set (renamed Zehir) comes from the Egyptian pantheon. The Kaven Queen is akin to the Norse pantheon's Hel and Greyhawk's Wee Jas. That leaves three gods created from scratch: loun, Melora, and Torog.

OTHER RELIGIOUS SYSTEMS

In your campaign, you can create pantheons of gods who are closely linked in a single religion, monotheistic religions (worship of a single deity), dualistic systems (centered on two opposing deities or forces), mystery cults (involving personal devotion to a single deity, usually as part of a pantheon system), animistic religions (revering the spirits inherent in nature), or even forces and philosophies that don't center on deities.

TIGHT PANTHEONS

In contrast to a loose pantheon, a tight pantheon focuses on a single religion whose teachings and edicts embrace a small group of deities. Followers of a tight pantheon might favor one of its member deities over another,

but they respect all the deities and honor them with sacrifices and prayer as appropriate.

The key trait to a tight pantheon is that its worshipers embrace a single ethos or dogma that includes all the deities. The gods of the tight pantheon work as one to protect and guide their followers. You can think of a tight pantheon as similar to a family. One or two deities who lead the pantheon serve as parent figures, with the rest serving as patrons of important aspects of the culture that worships the pantheon. А single temple honors all members of the pantheon.

Most tight pantheons have one or more aberrant gods—deities whose worship isn't sanctioned by the priests of the pantheon as a whole. These are usually evil deities and enemies of the pantheon, such as the Greek Titans. These deities have cults of their own, attracting social outcasts and villains to their worship. These cults resemble mystery cults, their members

strictly devoted to their single god, though even members of aberrant cults pay lip service in the temples of the tight pantheon.

Ihe Norse deities serve as an example of a tight pantheon. Odin is the pantheon's leader and father figure. Deities such as Thor, Tyr, and Freya embody important aspects of Norse culture. Meanwhile, Loki and his devotees lurk in the shadows, sometimes aiding the other deities, and sometimes working against them with the pantheon's enemies.

MYSTERY CULTS

А mystery cult 13 a secretive religious organization based on a ritual of initiation, in which the initiate is mystically identified with a god, or a handful of related gods. Mystery cults are intensely personal, concerned with the initiate's relationship with the divine.

Sometimes a mystery cult is a type of worship within a pantheon. It acknowledges the myths and rituals of the pantheon, but presents its own myths and rites as primary. For instance, a secretive order of monks might immerse themselves in a mystical relationship to a god who is part of a broadly worshiped pantheon.

A mystery cult emphasizes the history of its god, which is symbolically reenacted in its initiation ritual. The foundation myth of a mystery cult is usually simple and often involves а god's death and rising, or a journey to the underworld and a return. Mystery cults often revere sun and moon deities and agricultural deities— gods whose portfolios reflect the cycles of nature.

ee DIVINE RANK The divine beings of the multiverse are often categorized according to their cosmic power. Some gods are worshiped on multiple worlds and have a different rank on each world, depending on their influence there.

Greater deities are beyond mortal understanding. They can't be summoned, and they are almost always removed from direct involvement in mortal affairs. On very rare occasions they manifest avatars similar to lesser deities, but slaying a greater god's avatar has no effect on the god itself.

Lesser deities are embodied somewhere in the planes. Some lesser deities live in the Material Plane, as does the unicorn-goddess Lurue of the Forgotten Realms and the titanic shark-god Sekolah revered by the sahuagin. Others live on the Outer Planes, as Lolth does in the Abyss. Such deities can be encountered by mortals.

Quasi-deities have a divine origin, but they don't hear or answer prayers, grant spells to clerics, or control aspects of mortal life. They are still immensely powerful beings, and in theory they could ascend to godhood if they amassed enough worshipers. Quasi-deities fall into three subcategories: demigods, titans, and vestiges.

Demigods are born from the union of a deity and a mortal being. They have some divine attributes, but their mortal parentage makes them the weakest quasi-deities,

Titans are the divine creations of deities. They might be birthed from the union of two deities, manufactured on a divine forge, born from the blood spilled