0-level spell: A spell of the lowest possible level. Arcane spellcasters often call their 0-level spells “cantrips,” and divine spellcasters often call them “orisons.”
5-foot step: A small position adjustment that does not count as an action. Usually (but not always), a 5-foot step is permitted at any point in the round (such as before or after a full-round action, between attacks in a full attack, between a standard action and a move action, or between two move actions). You can’t take a 5-foot step in the same round that you move any distance. You can’t take a 5-foot step if your movement is hampered, such as into a square of difficult terrain, in darkness, or when blinded. Taking a 5-foot step does not provoke an attack of opportunity, even if you move out of a threatened square.
Ability: One of the six basic character qualities: Strength (Str), Dexterity (Dex), Constitution (Con), Intelligence (Int), Wisdom (Wis), and Charisma (Cha). See ability score.
Ability check: A check of 1d20 + the appropriate ability modifier.
Ability damage: A temporary loss of 1 or more ability score points. Lost points return at a rate of 1 point per day unless noted otherwise by the condition dealing the damage. A character with Strength 0 falls to the ground and is helpless. A character with Dexterity 0 is paralyzed. A character with Constitution 0 is dead. A Character with Intelligence, Wisdom, or Charisma 0 is unconscious.
Ability decrease: A decrease in an ability score that ends when the condition causing it does.
Ability drain: A permanent loss of 1 or more ability score points. The character can only regain these points through magical means. A character with Strength 0 falls to the ground and is helpless. A character with Dexterity 0 is paralyzed. A character with Constitution 0 is dead. A Character with Intelligence, Wisdom, or Charisma 0 is unconscious.
Ability modifier: The bonus or penalty associated with a particular ability score. Ability modifiers apply to die rolls for character actions involving the corresponding abilities.
Ability scores: The numeric rating of one of the six character abilities (see ability). Some creatures lack certain ability scores; others cannot be rated in particular abilities.
action: A character activity. Actions are divided into the following categories, according to the time required to perform them (from most time required to least): full-round actions, standard actions, move actions, and free actions.
adjacent: In a square that shares a border or a corner with a designated square. Each square is adjacent to eight other squares on the board.
adventuring party: A group of characters who adventure together. An adventuring party is composed of player characters plus any followers, familiars, animal companions, associates, cohorts, or hirelings they might have.
alignment: One of the nine descriptors of morality for intelligent creatures: lawful good (LG), neutral good (NG), chaotic good (CG), lawful neutral (LN), neutral (N), chaotic neutral (CN), lawful evil (LE), neutral evil (NE), and chaotic evil (CE).
ally: A creature friendly to you. In most cases, references to “allies” include yourself.
animal: A type of creature that includes all natural animals, dire animals, giant animals, and some other nonmagical vertebrate creatures (see the Monster Manual). Animals always have an Intelligence score of 1 or 2.
arcane spell failure: The chance that a spell fails and is cast to no effect because the caster’s ability to use a somatic component was hampered by armor. Bards can ignore the arcane spell failure chance for light armor when casting bard spells.
arcane spells: Arcane spells involve the direct manipulation of mystic energies. Bards, sorcerers, and wizards cast arcane spells.
armor bonus: A bonus to Armor Class granted by armor or by a spell or magical effect that mimics armor. Armor bonuses stack with all other bonuses to Armor Class (even with natural armor bonuses) except other armor bonuses. Magic armor typically grants an enhancement bonus to the armor’s armor bonus, which has the effect of increasing the armor’s overall bonus. An armor bonus granted by a spell or magic item typically takes the form of an invisible, tangible field of force around the recipient. An armor bonus doesn’t apply against touch attacks, except for armor bonuses granted by force effects (such as the mage armor spell) which apply against incorporeal touch attacks, such as that of a shadow.
Armor Class (AC): A number representing a creature’s ability to avoid being hit in combat. An opponent’s attack roll must equal or exceed the target creature’s Armor Class to hit it. Armor Class = 10 + all modifiers that apply (typically armor bonus, shield bonus, Dexterity modifier, and size modifier).
artifact: A magic item of incredible power. Some spells do not function when targeted on an artifact.
Astral Plane: An open, weightless plane that connects with all other planes of existence and is used for transportation among them (and is thus described as a transitive plane, like the Ethereal Plane and the Plane of Shadow). Certain spells (such as astral projection) allow access to this plane.
attack: Any of numerous actions intended to harm, disable, or neutralize an opponent. The outcome of an attack is determined by an attack roll.
attack of opportunity: A single extra melee attack per round that a combatant can make when an opponent within reach takes an action that provokes attacks of opportunity. Cover prevents attacks of opportunity.
attack roll: A roll to determine whether an attack hits. To make an attack roll, roll 1d20 and add the appropriate modifiers for the attack type, as follows: melee attack roll = 1d20 + base attack bonus + Strength modifier + size modifier; ranged attack roll = 1d20 + base attack bonus + Dexterity modifier + size modifier + range penalty. In either case, the attack hits if the result is at least as high as the target’s Armor Class.
automatic hit: An attack that hits regardless of target AC. Automatic hits occur on an attack roll of natural 20 or as a result of certain spells. A natural 20 attack roll is also a threat—a possible critical hit.
automatic miss: An attack that misses regardless of target AC. Automatic misses occur on an attack roll of natural 1.
base attack bonus: An attack roll bonus derived from character class and level. Base attack bonuses increase at different rates for different character classes. A character gains a second attack when his or her base attack bonus reaches +6, a third with a base attack bonus of +11 or higher, and a fourth with a base attack bonus of +16 or higher. Base attack bonuses gained from different classes, such as when a character is a multiclass character, stack.
base land speed: The speed a character can move while unarmored. Base land speed is derived from character race. base save bonus: A saving throw modifier derived from character class and level. Base save bonuses increase at different rates for different character classes. Base save bonuses gained from different classes, such as when a character is a multiclass character, stack.
battle grid: A play surface marked off in 1-inch squares, which is used to keep track of the locations of creatures and characters (represented by miniatures figures) during combat and other tactical situations.
blind: Unable to see. A blind character takes –2 penalty to Armor Class, loses his Dexterity bonus to AC (if any), moves at half speed, and takes a –4 penalty on Search checks and on most Strength- and Dexteritybased skill checks. All checks and activities that rely on vision (such as reading and Spot checks) automatically fail. All opponents are considered to have total concealment (50% miss chance) relative to the blinded character.
bolster undead: A supernatural ability of evil clerics (and some neutral ones). Bolstering undead increases the resistance of those undead creatures to turning attempts.
bonus: A positive modifier to a die roll. In most cases, multiple bonuses from the same
source or of the same type in effect on the same character or object do not stack; only the highest bonus of that type applies. Bonuses that don’t have a specific type always stack with all bonuses.
cantrip: An arcane 0-level spell.
cast a spell: Trigger the magical or divine energy of a spell by means of words, gestures, focuses, and/or special materials. Spellcasting requires the uninterrupted concentration of the caster during the requisite casting time. Disruption of this concentration forces the caster to make a successful Concentration check or lose the spell. Successful casting brings about the spell’s listed effect or effects.
caster level: A measure of the power with which a spellcaster casts a spell. Generally, a spell’s caster level is the spellcaster’s class level.
caster level check: A roll 1d20 + the caster level (in the relevant class). If the result equals or exceeds the DC (or the spell resistance, in the case of caster level checks made for spell resistance), the check succeeds.
casting time: The time required to cast a spell, usually either 1 standard action, 1 round, or 1 free action. Spells with casting times longer than 1 round require full-round actions for all the rounds encompassed in the casting time.
Charisma (Cha): The ability that measures a character’s force of personality, persuasiveness, personal magnetism, ability to lead, and physical attractiveness.
character: A fictional individual within the confines of a fantasy game setting. The words “character” and “creature” are often used synonymously within these rules, since almost any creature could be a character within the game, and every character is a creature (as opposed to an object).
character class: One of the eleven player character types— barbarian, bard, cleric, druid, fighter, monk, paladin, ranger, rogue, sorcerer, or wizard. Class defines a character’s predominant talents and general function within an adventuring party. Character class may also refer to a nonplayer character class or a prestige class (see the Dungeon Master’s Guide).
character level: A character’s total level. For a character with levels in only one class, class level and character level are the same thing.
check: A method of determining the result when a character attempts an action (other than an attack or a saving throw) that has a chance of failure. Checks are based on a relevant character ability, skill, or other characteristic. Most checks are either ability checks or skill checks, though special types such as turning checks, caster level checks, dispel checks, and initiative checks also exist. The specific name of the check usually corresponds to the skill or ability used. To make a check, roll 1d20 and add any relevant modifiers. (Higher results are always better.) If this check result equals or exceeds the Difficulty Class number assigned by the DM (or the opponent’s check, if the action is opposed) the check succeeds.
checked: Prevented from achieving forward motion by an applied force, such as wind. Checked creatures on the ground merely stop. Checked flying creatures move back a distance specified in the description of the effect.
circumstance bonus: A bonus granted because of specific conditional factors favorable to the success of the task at hand. Circumstance bonuses stack with all other bonuses, including other circumstance bonuses, unless they arise from essentially the same benefit. For instance, a magnifying glass gives a +2 circumstance bonus on Appraise checks involving any item that is small or highly detailed, such as a gem. If you had a second tool that also granted a circumstance bonus from improved visual acuity (such as a jeweler’s loupe), the circumstance bonuses wouldn’t stack.
class feature: Any special characteristic derived from a character class.
class level: A character’s level in a single class. Class features generally depend on class level rather than character level.
class skill: A skill to which characters of a particular class have easier access than characters of other classes. Characters may buy class skills at a rate of 1 rank per skill point, as opposed to 1/2 rank per skill point for cross-class skills. The maximum rank for a class skill is 3 + character’s level.
Colossal: A Colossal creature is typically 64 feet or more in height or length and weighs 250,000 pounds or more.
comatose: Effectively in a state of suspended animation. A comatose creature is helpless.
command word item: A magic item that activates when the user speaks a particular word or phrase. Activating a command word item does not require concentration and does not provoke attacks of opportunity.
command undead: The supernatural ability of evil clerics and some neutral clerics to control undead creatures by channeling negative energy.
competence bonus: A bonus that improves a character’s performance at a particular task, such as from the bardic ability to inspire competence. Such a bonus may apply to attack rolls, saving throws, skill checks, caster level checks, or any other checks to which a bonus relating to level or skill ranks would normally apply.
It does not apply on ability checks, damage rolls, initiative checks, or other rolls that aren’t related to a character’s level or skill ranks. Multiple competence bonuses don’t stack; only the highest bonus applies.
concealment: Something that prevents an attacker from clearly seeing his or her target. Concealment creates a chance that an otherwise successful attack misses (a miss chance). concentrate on a spell: Concentrate to maintain an active spell’s effect. Concentrating on a spell is a standard action and provokes an attack of opportunity.
confused: Befuddled and unable to determine a course of action due to a spell or magical effect. A confused character’s actions are determined by rolling d% at the beginning of his turn: 01–10, attack caster with melee or ranged weapons (or close with caster if attacking is not possible); 11–20, act normally; 21–50, do nothing but babble incoherently; 51–70, flee away from caster at top possible speed; 71–100, attack nearest creature (for this purpose, a familiar counts as part of the subject’s self). A confused character who can’t carry out the indicated action does nothing but babble incoherently.
Attackers are not at any special advantage when attacking a confused character. Any confused character who is attacked automatically attacks its attackers on its next turn, as long as it is still confused when its turn comes. A confused character does not make attacks of opportunity against any creature that it is not already devoted to attacking (either because of its most recent action or because it has just been attacked).
Constitution (Con): The ability that represents a character’s health and stamina.
continuous damage: Damage from a single attack that continues to deal damage every round without the need for additional attack rolls.
copper piece (cp): The most prevalent form of currency among beggars and laborers. Ten copper pieces are equivalent to 1 silver piece.
coup de grace: A full-round action that allows an attacker to attempt a killing blow against a helpless opponent. A coup de grace can be administered with a melee weapon or with a bow or crossbow if the attacker is adjacent to the opponent. An attacker delivering a coup de grace automatically scores a critical hit, after which the defender must make a successful Fortitude save (DC 10 + damage dealt) or die. Rogues also gain their extra sneak attack damage for this attack. Delivering a coup de grace provokes attacks of opportunity from threatening foes. A coup de grace is not possible against a creature immune to critical hits.
cover: Any barrier between an attacker and defender. Such a barrier can be an object, a creature, or a magical force. Cover grants the defender a bonus to Armor Class.
cowering: Frozen in fear and unable to take actions. A cowering character takes a –2 penalty to Armor Class and loses her Dexterity bonus (if any).
creature: A living or otherwise active being, not an object. The terms “creature” and “character” are sometimes used interchangeably. creature type: One of several broad categories of creatures. The creature types are aberration, animal, construct, dragon, elemental, fey, giant, humanoid, magical beast, monstrous humanoid, ooze, outsider, plant, undead, and vermin. (See the Monster Manual for full descriptions.)
critical hit (crit): A hit that strikes a vital area and therefore deals double damage or more. To score a critical hit, an attacker must first score a threat (usually a natural 20 on an attack roll) and then succeed on a critical roll (just like another attack roll). Critical hit damage is usually double damage, which means rolling damage twice, just as if the attacker had actually hit the defender two times. (Any extra damage dice, such as from a rogue’s sneak attack, are not rolled multiple times, but are added to the total at the end of the calculation.)
critical roll: A special second attack roll made in the event of a threat to determine whether a critical hit has been scored. If the critical roll is a hit against the target creature’s AC, then the original attack is a critical hit. Otherwise, the original attack is a regular hit.
cross-class (cc) skill: A skill that is not a class skill for a character. Characters may buy cross-class skills at the rate of a half rank per skill point, as opposed to 1 rank per skill point for class skills. The most ranks a character can have in a cross-class skill is one-half of the class skill maximum (3 + character’s level), rounded neither up nor down.
cure spell: Any spell with the word “cure” in its name, such as cure minor wound, cure light wounds, or mass cure critical wounds.
current hit points: A character’s hit points at a given moment in the game. Current hit points go down when the character takes damage and go back up upon recovery.
damage: A decrease in hit points, an ability score, or other aspects
of a character caused by an injury, illness, or magical effect. The
three main categories of damage are lethal damage, nonlethal
damage, and ability damage. In addition, wherever it is relevant, the
type of damage an attack deals is specified, since natural abilities,
magic items, or spell effects may grant immunity to certain types of
damage. Damage types include weapon damage (subdivided into
bludgeoning, slashing, and piercing) and energy damage (positive,
negative, acid, cold, electricity, fire, and sonic). Modifiers to melee
damage rolls apply to both subcategories of weapon damage (melee
and unarmed). Some modifiers apply to both weapon and spell
damage, but only if so stated. Damage points are deducted from
whatever character attribute has been harmed—lethal and
nonlethal damage from current hit points, and ability damage from
the relevant ability score). Damage heals naturally over time, but can
also be negated wholly or partially by curative magic.
damage reduction (DR): A special defense that allows a creature
to ignore a set amount of damage from most weapons, unarmed
attacks, or natural weapons, but not from energy attacks, spells,
spell-like abilities, and supernatural abilities. The number in a
creature’s damage reduction is the amount of hit points of damage
the creature ignores. The information after the slash indicates the
type of weapon (such as magic, silver, or evil) that overcomes the
damage reduction. Some damage reduction, such as that of a
barbarian, is not overcome by any type of weapon.
darkvision: An extraordinary ability possessed by some creatures
that enables them to see in the dark.
dazed: Unable to act normally. A dazed character can take no
actions, but has no penalty to AC.
dazzled: Unable to see well because of overstimulation of the
eyes. A dazzled creature takes a –1 penalty on attack rolls Spot
checks, and Search checks.
dead: A character dies when his or her hit points drop to –10 or
lower. A character also dies when his or her Constitution drops to 0,
and certain spells or effects (such as failing a Fortitude save against
massive damage) can also kill a character outright. Death causes the
character’s soul to leave the body and journey to an Outer Plane.
Dead characters cannot benefit from normal or magical healing, but
they can be restored to life via magic. A dead body decays normally
unless magically preserved, but magic that restores a dead character
to life also restores the body either to full health or to its condition
at the time of death (depending on the spell or device).
deafened: Unable to hear. A deafened character takes a –4 penalty
on initiative checks, automatically fails Listen checks, and has a
20% chance of spell failure when casting spells with verbal components.
deal damage: Cause damage to a target with a successful attack.
How much damage is dealt is usually expressed in terms of dice (for
example, 2d6+4) and may have a situational modifier as well.
However, damage dealt by a weapon or spell does not necessarily
equal damage taken by the target, because the target may have
special defenses that negate some or all of the damage.
death attack: A spell or special ability that instantly slays the
target, such as finger of death. Neither raise dead nor reincarnation can
grant life to a creature slain by a death attack, though resurrection and
more powerful effects can.
deflection bonus: A bonus to Armor Class granted by a spell or
magic effect that makes attacks veer off harmlessly. Deflection
bonuses stack with all other bonuses to AC except other deflection
bonuses. A deflection bonus applies against touch attacks.
Dexterity (Dex): The ability that measures a character’s hand-eye
coordination, agility, reflexes, and balance.
difficult terrain: An area containing one or more features (such
as rubble or undergrowth) that costs 2 squares instead of 1 square to
Difficulty Class (DC): The target number that a player must
meet or beat for a check or saving throw to succeed. Difficulty
Classes other than those given in specific spell or item descriptions
are set by the DM using the skill rules as a guideline.
Diminutive: A Diminutive creature is typically between 6 inches
and 1 foot in height or length and weighs between 1/8 pound and 1
direct a spell: Direct an active spell’s effect at a specific target or
targets. Directing a spell is a move action and does not provoke an
attack of opportunity.
disabled: At exactly 0 current hit points, or in negative hit points
but stable and conscious. A disabled character may take a single
move action or standard action each round (but not both, nor can
she take full-round actions). She moves at half speed. Taking move
actions doesn’t risk further injury, but performing any standard
action (or any other action the DM deems strenuous, including
some free actions such as casting a quickened spell) deals 1 point of
damage after the completion of the act. Unless the action increased
the disabled character’s hit points, she is now in negative hit points
dispel: Negate, suppress, or remove one or more existing spells
or other effects on a creature, item, or area. Dispel usually refers to a
dispel magic spell, though other forms of dispelling are possible.
Certain spells cannot be dispelled, as noted in the individual spell
dispel check: A roll 1d20 + caster level of the character making
the attempt to dispel (usually used with dispel magic). The DC is 11
plus the level of the spellcaster who initiated the effect being
dispel turning: Channel negative energy to negate a successful
turning undead attempt by a good cleric or a paladin.
divine spells: Spells of religious origin powered by faith or by a
deity. Clerics, druids, paladins, and rangers cast divine spells.
dodge bonus: A bonus to Armor Class (and sometimes Reflex
saves) resulting from physical skill at avoiding blows and other ill
effects. Dodge bonuses are never granted by spells or magic items.
Any situation or effect (except wearing armor) that negates a character’s
Dexterity bonus also negates any dodge bonuses the character
may have (for instance, you lose any dodge bonuses to AC when
you’re flat-footed). Dodge bonuses stack with all other bonuses to
AC, even other dodge bonuses. Dodge bonuses apply against touch
domain: A granted power and a set of nine divine spells (one
each of 1st through 9th level) themed around a particular concept
and associated with one or more deities. The available domains are:
Air, Animal, Chaos, Death, Destruction, Earth, Evil, Fire, Good,
Healing, Knowledge, Law, Luck, Magic, Plant, Protection, Strength,
Sun, Travel, Trickery, War, and Water.
domain spell: A divine spell belonging to a domain. Each domain
offers one spell of each spell level. In addition to their normal
daily complement of spells, clerics can cast one domain spell per day
for each spell level that their caster levels allow. This spell may be from either of their domains. Domain spells cannot be exchanged
for cure or inflict spells.
double weapon: A weapon with two ends, blades, or heads that
are both intended for use in combat. Any weapon for which two
damage ranges are listed is a double weapon. Double weapons can be
used to make an extra attack as if the wielder were fighting with two
weapons (light weapon in the off hand).
druid (Drd): A class made up of characters who draw energy
from the natural world to cast divine spells and gain special magical
Dungeon Master (DM): The player who portrays nonplayer
characters, makes up the story setting for the other players, and
serves as a referee.
dying: Unconscious and near death. A dying character has –1 to –
9 current hit points, can take no actions, and is unconscious. Each
round on her turn, a dying character rolls d% to see whether she
becomes stable. She has a 10% chance of becoming stable. If she
does not, she loses 1 hit point. If a dying character reaches –10 hit
points, she is dead.
effective hit point increase: Hit points gained through temporary
increases in Constitution score. Unlike temporary hit points,
points gained in this manner are not lost first, and must be
subtracted from the character’s current hit points at the time the
Constitution increase ends.
electrum: A naturally-occurring alloy of gold and silver.
Elemental Plane: One of the Inner Planes consisting almost
entirely of one type of element: air, earth, fire, or water.
end of round: The point in a combat round when all the participants
have completed all their allowed actions. End of round
occurs when no one else involved in the combat has an action
pending for that round.
enemy: A creature unfriendly to you.
energy damage: Damage caused by one of five types of energy
(not counting positive and negative energy): acid, cold, electricity,
fire, and sonic.
energy drain: An attack that saps a creature’s vital energy giving
it negative levels, which might permanently drain the creature’s
Energy Plane: An Inner Plane, either the Positive Energy Plane
or the Negative Energy Plane.
engaged: Threatening or being threatened by an enemy.
(Unconscious, or otherwise immobilized characters are not considered
engaged unless they are actually being attacked.)
enhancement bonus: A bonus that represents an increase in the
sturdiness and/or effectiveness of armor or natural armor, or the
effectiveness of a weapon, or a general bonus to an ability score.
Multiple enhancement bonuses on the same object (in the case of
armor and weapons), creature (in the case of natural armor). Or
ability score do not stack. Only the highest enhancement bonus
applies. Since enhancement bonuses to armor or natural armor
effectively increase the armor or natural armor’s bonus to AC, they
don’t apply against touch attacks.
entangled: Ensnared. Being entangled impedes movement, but
does not entirely prevent it unless the bonds are anchored to an
immobile object or tethered by an opposing force. An entangled
creature moves at half speed, cannot run or charge, and takes a –2
penalty on attack rolls and a –4 penalty to its effective Dexterity
score. An entangled character who attempts to cast a spell must
make a Concentration check (DC 15 + the spell’s level) or lose the
ethereal: On the Ethereal Plane. An ethereal creature is invisible
and intangible to creatures on the Material Plane, but visible and
corporeal to creatures on the Ethereal Plane. As such, such a
creature is capable of moving through solid on the Material Plane,
and in any direction (even up or down), though all movement is at
half speed. Ethereal beings can see and hear what is happening in
the same area of the Material Plane to a distance of 60 feet, but
everything looks gray and insubstantial. Force effects originating on
the Material Plane can affect items and creatures that are ethereal,
but the reverse is not true.
Ethereal Plane: A gray, foggy plane parallel to the Material Plane
at all points. Creatures within the Ethereal Plane can see and hear
into the Material Plane to a distance of 60 feet, though the reverse is
not usually true. Force effects originating on the Material Plane can
affect items and creatures on the Ethereal Plane, but the reverse is
not true. Because the Ethereal Plane is often used for travel, it is also
considered a transitive plane (like the Astral Plane and the Plane of
exhausted: Tired to the point of significant impairment. An
exhausted character moves at half speed and takes a –6 penalty to
Strength and Dexterity. After 1 hour of complete rest, an exhausted
character becomes fatigued. A fatigued character becomes exhausted
by doing something else that would normally cause fatigue.
experience points (XP): A numerical measure of a character’s
personal achievement and advancement. Characters earn experience
points by defeating opponents and by overcoming challenges. At
the end of each adventure, the DM assigns experience to the
characters based on what they have accomplished. Characters
continue to accumulate experience points throughout their
adventuring careers, gaining new levels in their character classes at
certain experience totals.
extraordinary ability (Ex): A nonmagical special ability (as
opposed to a spell-like or supernatural ability).
extraplanar: Native to a plane of existence other than the plane
on which a creature is present. On the Material Plane, an outsider is
an extraplanar creature. On an outsider’s home plane, a native of the
Material Plane is an extraplanar creature.
failure: An unsuccessful result on a check, saving throw, or other
determination involving a die roll.
fascinated: Entranced by a supernatural or spell effect. A fascinated
creature stands or sits quietly, taking no actions other than to
pay attention to the fascinating effects, for as long as the effect lasts.
It takes a–4 penalty on skill checks made as reactions, such as Listen
and Spot checks. Any potential threat, such as a hostile creature
approaching, allows the fascinated creature a new saving throw
against the fascinating effect. Any obvious threat, such as a someone
drawing a weapon, casting a spell, or aiming a ranged weapon at the
fascinated creature, automatically breaks the effect. A fascinated
creature’s ally may shake it free of the effect as a standard action.
fatigued: Tired to the point of impairment. A fatigued character
can neither run nor charge and takes a –2 penalty to Strength and
Dexterity. Doing anything that would normally cause fatigue causes
the fatigued character to become exhausted. After 8 hours of
complete rest, fatigued characters are no longer fatigued.
fear effect: Any spell or magical effect that causes the victim to
become shaken, frightened, or panicked, or to suffer from some
other fear-based effect defined in the description of the specific spell
or item in question.
fighter (Ftr): A class made up of characters who have exceptional
combat capability and unequalled skill with weapons.
Fine: A Fine creature is typically 6 inches or less in height or
length and weighs 1/8 pound or less.
flank: To be directly on the other side of a character who is being
threatened by another character. A flanking attacker gains a +2
flanking bonus on attack rolls against the defender. A rogue can
sneak attack a defender that is flanking.
flat-footed: Especially vulnerable to attacks at the beginning of a
battle. Characters are flat-footed until their first turns in the
initiative cycle. A flat-footed creature loses its Dexterity bonus to
Armor Class (if any) and cannot make attacks of opportunity.
force damage: A special type of damage dealt by force effects,
such as a magic missile spell. A force effect can strike incorporeal creatures without the normal miss chance associated with incorporeality.
Fortitude save: A type of saving throw, related to a character’s
ability to withstand damage thanks to his physical stamina.
free action: Free actions consume a negligible amount of time,
and one or more such actions can be performed in conjunction with
actions of other types.
frightened: Fearful of a creature, situation, or object. A frightened
creature flees from the source of its fear as best it can. If unable
to flee, it may fight. A frightened creature takes a –2 penalty on all
attack rolls, saving throws, skill checks, and ability checks. A
frightened creature can use special abilities, including spells, to flee;
indeed, the creature must use such means if they are the only way to
full normal hit points: An individual character’s maximum hit
points when undamaged.
full-round attack: Full-round actions consume all of a character’s
effort during a round. The only movement possible in conjunction
with a full-round action is a 5-foot step, which can occur
before, after, or during the action. Some full-round actions (as
specified in their descriptions) do not allow even this much
movement. When using a full-round action to cast a spell whose
casting is 1 round, the spell is not completed until the beginning of
the caster’s next turn.
Gargantuan: A Gargantuan creature is between 32 and 64 feet in
height or length and weighs between 32,000 and 250,000 pounds.
gold piece (gp): The primary unit of currency used by adventurers.
grab: The initial attack required to start a grapple. To grab a target,
the character must make a successful melee touch attack.
granted power: The special ability a cleric gain from each of his
grapple check: An opposed check that determines a character’s
ability to struggle in a grapple. Grapple check = 1d20 + base attack
modifier + Strength modifier + special size modifier. (+4 for every
size category larger than Medium or –4 for every size category
smaller than Medium).
grappling: Engaged in wrestling or some other form of hand-tohand
struggle with one or more attackers. A grappling character can
undertake only a limited number of actions. He does not threaten
any squares, and loses his Dexterity bonus to AC (if any) against
opponents he isn’t grappling. For creatures, grappling can also mean
trapping opponents in any number of ways (in a toothy maw, under
a huge paw, and so on).
half speed: When restricted to moving at half speed, count each
square moved into as 2 squares, and every square of diagonal
movement as 3 squares. If you are restricted to half speed, you can’t
run or charge, nor can you take a 5-foot step.
hardness: A measure of an object’s ability to resist damage. Only
damage in excess of the object’s hardness is actually deducted from
the object’s hit points upon a successful attack.
helpless: Paralyzed, held, bound, sleeping, unconscious, or otherwise
completely at an opponent’s mercy. A helpless target is
treated as having a Dexterity of 0 (–5 modifier). Melee attacks
against a helpless target get a +4 bonus. An attacker can use a coup
de grace against a helpless target.
hit: Make a successful attack roll.
Hit Die/Dice (HD): In the singular form, a die rolled to generate
hit points. In the plural form, a measure of relative power that is
synonymous with character level for the sake of spells, magic items,
and magical effects that affect a certain number of Hit Dice of
hit points (hp): A measure of a character’s health or an object’s
integrity. Damage decreases current hit points, and lost hit points
return with healing or natural recovery. A character’s hit point total
increases permanently with additional experience and/or permanent
increases in Constitution, or temporarily through the use of
various special abilities, spells, magic items, or magical effects (see
temporary hit points and effective hit point increase).
Huge: A Huge creature is typically between 16 and 32 feet in
height or length and weighs between 4,000 and 32,000 pounds.
incorporeal: Having no physical body. Incorporeal creatures are
immune to all nonmagical attack forms. They can be harmed only by
other incorporeal creatures, +1 or better magic weapons, spells,
spell-like effects, or supernatural effects. Even when struck by spells,
magical effects, or magic weapons, however, they have a 50% chance
to ignore any damage from a corporeal source. In addition, rogues
cannot employ sneak attacks against incorporeal beings, since such
opponents have no vital areas to target. An incorporeal creature has
no armor or natural armor bonus (or loses any armor or natural
armor bonus it may have when corporeal), but it gains a deflection
bonus equal to its Charisma modifier or +1, whichever is greater.
Such creatures can move in any direction and even pass through
solid objects at will, but not through force effects. Therefore, their
attacks negate the bonuses provided by natural armor, armor, and
shields, but deflection bonuses and force effects (such as mage
armor) work normally against them. Incorporeal creatures have no
weight, do not leave footprints, have no scent and make no noise, so
they cannot be heard with Listen checks unless they wish it.
Incorporeal creatures cannot fall or take falling damage.
inflict spell: A spell with the word “inflict” in its name, such as
inflict light wounds, inflict moderate wounds, or mass inflict critical
inherent bonus: A bonus to an ability score resulting from
powerful magic, such as a wish. Inherent bonuses cannot be dispelled.
A character is limited to a total inherent bonus of +5 to any
ability score. Multiple inherent bonuses to a particular ability score
do not stack, so only the best one applies.
initiative: A system of determining the order of actions in battle.
Before the first round of combat, each combatant makes a single
initiative check. Each round, the participants act in order from the
highest initiative result to the lowest.
initiative check: A check used to determine a creature’s place in
the initiative order for a combat. An initiative check is 1d20 + Dex
modifier + other modifiers.
initiative count: The result of an initiative check, expressed as a
number that indicates when a character’s turn comes up.
initiative modifier: A bonus or penalty to initiative checks.
Inner Plane: One of several portions of the planar landscape that
contain the primal forces—those energies and elements that make
up the building blocks of reality. The Elemental Planes and the
Energy Planes are Inner Planes.
insight bonus: An insight bonus improves performance of a
given activity by granting the character an almost precognitive
knowledge of what might occur. Multiple insight bonuses on the
same character or object do not stack. Only the highest insight
Intelligence (Int): The ability that determines how well a
character learns and reasons.
invisible: Visually undetectable. An invisible creature gains a +2
bonus on attack rolls against sighted opponents, and ignores its
opponents’ Dexterity bonus to AC (if any). (Invisibility has no effect
against blinded or otherwise nonsighted creatures.) An invisible
creature’s location cannot be pinpointed by visual means. It has total
concealment; even if an attacker correctly guesses the invisible
creature’s location, the attacker has a 50% miss chance in combat.
An invisible creature gains a +40 bonus on Hide checks if
immobile, or a +20 bonus on Hide checks if moving. Locating the
square an invisible creature occupies requires a Spot check (DC 40 if
the creature is immobile, DC 20 if the creature moved during its last turn), modified by appropriate factors (such as an amor check
penalty or a penalty for movement).
kind: A subcategory of creature type. For example, giant is a
creature type, and hill giant is a kind of giant.
known spell: A spell that an arcane spellcaster has learned and
can prepare. For wizards, knowing a spell means having it in their
spellbooks. For sorcerers and bards, knowing a spell means having
selected it when acquiring new spells as a benefit of level
Large: A Large creature is typically between 8 and 16 feet in
height or length and weighs between 500 and 4,000 pounds.
lethal damage: Damage that reduces a creature’s hit points.
level: A measure of advancement or power applied to several
areas of the game. See caster level, character level, class level, and
light weapon: A weapon suitable for use in the wielder’s off
hand, such as a dagger. A light weapon is considered to be an object
two size categories smaller than its designated wielder (for example,
a Medium dagger is a Tiny object).
line of effect: Line of effect tells you whether an effect (such as
an explosion) can reach a creature. Line of effect is just like line of
sight, except line of effect ignores restrictions on visual ability. For
instance, a fireball’s explosion doesn’t care if a creature is invisible or
hiding in darkness.
line of sight: Two creatures can see each other if they have line
of sight to each other. To determine line of sight, draw an imaginary
line between your space and the target’s space. If any such line is
clear (not blocked), then you have line of sight to the creature (and it
has line of sight to you). The line is clear if it doesn’t intersect or
even touch squares that block line of sight. If you can’t see the target
(for instance, if you’re blind or the target is invisible), you can’t have
line of sight to it even if you could draw an unblocked line between
your space and the target’s.
low-light vision: The ability to see in conditions of dim illumination
as if the illumination were actually as bright as daylight.
luck bonus: A modifier that represents good fortune. Multiple
luck bonuses on the same character or object do not stack. Only the
highest luck bonus applies.
massive damage: At least 50 points of damage resulting from a
masterwork: Exceptionally well-made, generally providing a +1
enhancement bonus on attack rolls (if the item is a weapon or
ammunition), reducing the armor check penalty by 1 (if the item is
armor or a shield), or adding +2 to relevant skill checks (if the item is
Material Plane: The “normal” plane of existence.
Medium: A Medium creature is typically between 4 and 8 feet in
height or length and weighs between 60 and 500 pounds.
melee: Melee combat consists of physical blows exchanged by
opponents close enough to threaten one another’s space as opposed
to ranged combat.
melee attack: A physical attack suitable for close combat.
melee attack bonus: A modifier applied to a melee attack roll.
melee attack roll: An attack roll during melee combat, as
opposed to a ranged attack roll. See attack roll.
melee touch attack: A touch attack made in melee, as opposed to
a ranged touch attack. See touch attack.
melee weapon: A handheld weapon designed for close combat.
miniature figure: The physical representation of a creature or
character on the battle grid; a three-dimensional figure.
miss chance: The possibility that a successful attack roll misses
anyway because of the attacker’s uncertainty about the target’s
location. See concealment.
miss chance roll: A d% to determine the success of an attack roll
to which a miss chance applies.
modifier: Any bonus or penalty applying to a die roll. A positive
modifier is a bonus, and a negative modifier is a penalty. Modifiers
from the same source do not stack, and modifiers with specific
descriptors generally do not stack with others of the same type. If
more than one modifier of a type is present, only the best bonus or
worst penalty in that grouping applies. Bonuses or penalties that do
not have descriptors stack with those that do.
monk (Mnk): A class made up of characters who are masters of
the martial arts and have a number of exotic powers.
morale bonus: A bonus representing the effects of greater hope,
courage, and determination. Multiple morale bonuses on the same
character do not stack. Only the highest morale bonus applies.
Nonintelligent creatures (creatures with an Intelligence of 0 or no
Intelligence at all) cannot benefit from moral bonuses.
move action: An action that is the equivalent of the character
moving his speed. Move actions include standing up from prone,
drawing or sheathing a weapon, opening a door, loading a light
crossbow, and moving your speed. In a typical round, a character can
take a move action and a standard action, or he can take a second
move action in place of his standard action.
mundane: Normal, commonplace, or everyday. Also used as a
synonym for “nonmagical.”
natural: A natural result on a roll or check is the actual number
appearing on the die, not the modified result obtained by adding
bonuses or subtracting penalties.
natural ability: A nonmagical capability, such as walking,
swimming (for aquatic creatures), and flight (for winged creatures).
natural armor bonus: A bonus to Armor Class resulting from a
creature’s naturally tough hide. Natural armor’s bonuses stack with
all other bonuses to Armor Class (even with armor bonuses) except
other natural armor bonuses. Some magical effects (such as the
barkskin spell) grant an enhancement bonus to the creature’s
existing natural armor bonus, which has the effect of increasing the
natural armor’s overall bonus to Armor Class. A natural armor bonus
doesn’t apply against touch attacks.
natural reach: The distance from which a creature can make a
melee attack. The creature threatens all squares within that distance
from its space.
nauseated: Experiencing stomach distress. Nauseated creatures
are unable to attack, cast spells, concentrate on spells, or do anything
else requiring attention. The only action such a character can take is
a single move action per turn, plus free actions (except for casting
negate: Invalidate, prevent, or end an effect with respect to a
designated area or target.
negative energy: A black, crackling energy that originates on the
Negative Material Plane. In general, negative energy heals undead
creatures and hurts the living.
Negative Energy Plane: The Inner Plane from which negative
negative level: A loss of vital energy resulting from energy drain,
spells, magic items, or magical effects. For each negative level
gained, a creature takes a –1 penalty on all attack rolls, saving
throws, skill checks, and ability checks, loses 5 hit points, and takes a
–1 penalty to effective level. (That is, whenever the creature’s level is
used in a die roll or calculation, reduce its value by 1 for each
negative level.) In addition, a spellcaster loses one spell or spell slot
from the highest spell level castable. If two or more spells fit this
criterion, the caster decides which one becomes inaccessible. The
lost spell becomes available again as soon as the negative level is
removed, providing the caster would be capable of using it at that
time. Negative levels remain in place for 24 hours after acquisition,
or until removed. After that period, the negative level goes away, but
the afflicted creature must make a Fortitude save (DC 10 + 1/2 the
attacker’s Hit Dice + the attacker’s Cha modifier) to determine whether there is a lasting effect. If the saving throw succeeds, there
is no harm to the character. Otherwise, the creature’s character level
drops by one and any benefits acquired with that level are lost. The
afflicted creature must make a separate saving throw for each
negative level possessed.
nonintelligent: Lacking an Intelligence score. Mind-affecting
spells do not affect nonintelligent creatures, nor can nonintelligent
creatures benefit from morale bonuses.
nonlethal damage: Damage typically resulting from an unarmed
attack, an armed attack delivered with intent to subdue, a forced
march, or a debilitating condition such as heat or starvation.
nonplayer character (NPC): A character controlled by the
Dungeon Master rather than by one of the other players in a game
session, as opposed to a player character.
off hand: A character’s weaker or less dexterous hand (usually
the left). An attack made with the off hand incurs a –4 penalty on
the attack roll. In addition, only one-half of a character’s Strength
bonus may be added to the damage dealt with a weapon held in the
one-handed weapon: A weapon designed for use in one hand,
such as a longsword, often either along with a shield or a light
weapon in the other hand. A one-handed weapon is considered to be
an object one size category smaller than its designated wielder (for
example, a Medium longsword is a Small object).
orison: A divine 0-level spell.
Outer Plane: One of several planes of existence where spirits of
mortal beings go after death. These planes are the homes of
powerful beings, such as demons, devils, and deities. Individual
Outer Planes typically exhibit the traits of one or two specific
alignments associated with the beings who control them.
overlap: Coexist with another effect or modifier in the same area
or on the same target. Bonuses that do not stack with each other
overlap instead, such that only the largest bonus provides its benefit.
paladin (Pal): A class made up of characters who are champions
of justice and destroyers of evil, with an array of divine powers.
panicked: A panicked creature must drop anything it holds and
flee at top speed from the source of its fear, as well as any other
dangers it encounters, along a random path. It can’t take any other
actions. In addition, the creature takes a –2 morale penalty on saving
throws, skill checks, and ability checks. If cornered, a panicked
creature cowers and does not attack, typically using the total defense
action in combat. A panicked creature can use special abilities,
including spells, to flee; indeed, the creature must use such means if
they are the only way to escape.
paralyzed: Frozen in place and unable to move or act, such as by
the hold person spell. A paralyzed character has effective Dexterity
and Strength scores of 0 and is helpless, but can take purely mental
actions. A winged creature flying in the air at the time that it
becomes paralyzed cannot flap its wings and falls. A paralyzed
swimmer can’t swim and may drown. A creature can move through a
space occupied by a paralyzed creature—ally or not. Each square
occupied by a paralyzed creature, however, counts as 2 squares.
party: A group of adventurers.
petrified: Turned to stone. Petrified characters are considered
unconscious. If a petrified character cracks or breaks, but the broken
pieces are joined with the body as it returns to flesh, he is
unharmed. Otherwise, the DM must assign some amount of permanent
hit point loss and/or debilitation.
pinned: Held immobile (but not helpless) in a grapple.
plane of existence: One of many dimensions that may be
accessed by spells, spell-like abilities, magic items, or specific creatures.
These planes include (but are not limited to) the Astral Plane,
the Ethereal Plane, the Inner Planes, the Outer Planes, the Plane of
Shadow, and various other realities. The “normal” world is part of
the Material Plane.
Plane of Shadow: A plane of existence that pervades the Material
Plane. The Plane of Shadow may be accessed and manipulated from
the Material Plane through shadows. Shadow spells make use of the
substance of this plane in their casting. Since some creatures use the
Plane of Shadow to travel from place to place, it is often described as
a transitive plane (like the Astral Plane and Ethereal Plane).
platinum piece (pp): A form of currency not in common
circulation but occasionally found as treasure. One platinum piece is
equivalent to 10 gold pieces.
player character (PC): A character controlled by a player other
than the Dungeon Master, as opposed to a nonplayer character.
point of origin: The location in space where a spell or magical
effect begins. The caster designates the point of origin for any spells
in which it is variable.
points of damage: A number by which an attack reduces a
character’s current hit points.
positive energy: A white, luminous energy that originates on the
Positive Material Plane. In general, positive energy heals the living
and hurts undead creatures.
Positive Energy Plane: The Inner Plane from which positive
prerequisite: A requirement that must be met before a given
benefit can be gained.
profane bonus: A bonus that stems from the power of evil.
Multiple profane bonuses on the same character or object do not
stack. Only the highest profane bonus applies.
projectile weapon: A device, such as a bow, that uses mechanical
force to propel a projectile toward a target.
prone: Lying on the ground. An attacker who is prone has a –4
penalty on melee attack rolls and cannot used a ranged weapon
(except for a crossbow). A defender who is prone gains a +4 bonus to
Armor Class against ranged attacks, but takes a –4 penalty to AC
against melee attacks.
racial bonus: A bonus granted because of the culture a particular
creature was brought up in or because of innate characteristics of
that type of creature. If a creature’s race changes (for instance, if it
dies and is reincarnated), it loses all racial bonuses it had in its
range increment: Each full range increment of distance between
an attacker using a ranged weapon and a target gives the
attacker a cumulative –2 penalty on the ranged attack roll. Thrown
weapons have a maximum range of five range increments. Projectile
weapons have a maximum range of ten range increments.
range penalty: A penalty applied to a ranged attack roll based on
distance. See range increment.
ranged attack: Any attack made at a distance with a ranged
weapon, as opposed to a melee attack.
ranged attack roll: An attack roll made with a ranged weapon.
See attack roll.
ranged touch attack: A touch attack made at range, as opposed
to a melee touch attack. See touch attack.
ranged weapon: A thrown or projectile weapon designed for
ranger (Rgr): A class made up of characters who are particularly
skilled at adventuring in the wilderness.
ray: A beam created by a spell. The caster must succeed on a
ranged touch attack to hit with a ray.
reach weapon: A long melee weapon, or one that has a long haft.
Reach weapons allow the user to threaten or strike at opponents 10 feet away with a melee attack roll. Most such weapons cannot be
used to attack adjacent foes, however.
reaction: Acting in response to a situation or circumstance
beyond one’s control. For example, the DM may call for a Listen
check as a reaction to see if you hear something you weren’t
specifically trying to hear.
rebuke undead: A supernatural ability to make undead cower by
channeling negative energy.
redirect a spell: Redirect an active spell’s effect at a specific
target or targets. Redirecting a spell is a move action and does not
provoke an attack of opportunity.
Reflex save: A type of saving throw, related to a character’s ability
to withstand damage thanks to his agility or quick reactions.
regeneration: The ability of some creatures to regrow severed
body parts and ruined organs, repair broken bones, and heal other
damage. Severed body parts that are not reattached simply die, and
the regenerating creature grows replacements at a rate specified in
the individual spell or monster description. Most damage dealt to a
naturally regenerating creature is treated as nonlethal damage,
which heals at a fixed rate. However, certain attack forms (typically
fire and acid) deal damage that does not convert to nonlethal
damage. Such damage is not regenerated. Regeneration does not
alter conditions that do not deal damage in hit points, such as
poisoning or disintegration.
resistance bonus: A bonus on saving throws that provides extra
protection against harm. Multiple resistance bonuses on the same
character or object do not stack. Only the highest resistance bonus
resistance to energy: A creature with resistance to an energy
type ignores a certain amount of damage dealt by that energy type
each time it is dealt. For instance, a creature with fire resistance 10
ignores the first 10 points of fire damage dealt by each attack.
Resistance to energy doesn’t affect the saving throw made against
the attack (if any). Multiple sources of resistance to a certain energy
type (such as a spell and a special quality of a monster) don’t stack
with each other; only the highest value applies to any given attack.
result: The numerical outcome of a check, attack roll, saving
throw, or other 1d20 roll. The result is the sum of the natural die roll
and all applicable modifiers.
rogue (Rog): A class made up of characters who primarily rely on
stealth rather than brute force or magical ability.
round: A 6-second unit of game time used to manage combat.
Every combatant may make at least one action every round.
sacred bonus: A bonus that stems from the power of good.
Multiple sacred bonuses on the same character or object do not
stack. Only the highest sacred bonus applies.
saving throw (save): A roll made to avoid (at least partially)
damage or harm. The three types of saving throws are Fortitude,
Reflex, and Will.
school of magic: A group of related spells that work in similar
ways. The eight schools of magic available to spellcasters are
abjuration, conjuration, divination, enchantment, evocation,
illusion, necromancy, and transmutation.
scribe: Write a spell onto a scroll.
scry: See and hear events from afar through the use of a spell or a
shaken: Mildly fearful. A shaken character takes a –2 penalty on
attack rolls, saving throws, skill checks, and ability checks.
shield bonus: A bonus to Armor Class granted by a shield or by a
spell or magic effect that mimics a shield. Shield bonuses stack with
all other bonuses to AC except other shield bonuses. A magic shield
typically grants an enhancement bonus to the shield’s shield bonus,
which has the effect of increasing the shield’s overall bonus to AC. A
shield bonus granted by a spell or magic item typically takes the
form of an invisible, tangible field of force that protects the
recipient. A shield bonus doesn’t apply against touch attacks.
sickened: Mildly ill. A sickened character takes a –2 penalty on
all attack rolls, weapon damage rolls, saving throws, skill checks, and
silver piece (sp): The most prevalent form of currency among
commoners. Ten silver pieces are equivalent to 1 gold piece.
size: The physical dimensions and/or weight of a creature or
object. The sizes, from smallest to largest, are Fine, Diminutive,
Tiny, Small, Medium, Large, Huge, Gargantuan, and Colossal.
size modifier: The bonus or penalty derived from a creature’s
size category. Size modifiers of different kinds apply to Armor Class,
attack rolls, Hide checks, grapple checks, and various other checks.
skill: A talent that a character acquires and improves through
skill check: A check relating to use of a skill. The basic skill
check = 1d20 + skill rank + the relevant ability modifier (or simply
1d20 + skill modifier).
skill modifier: The bonus or penalty associated with a particular
skill. Skill modifier = skill rank + ability modifier + miscellaneous
modifiers. (Miscellaneous modifiers include racial bonuses, armor
check penalty, situational modifiers, and so forth.) Skill modifiers
apply to skill checks by characters in the course of using the
skill points: A measure of a character’s ability to gain and
improve skills. At each level, a character gains skill points and
spends them to buy skill ranks. Each skill point buys 1 rank in a
class skill or 1/2 rank in a cross-class skill.
skill rank: A number indicating how much training or experience
a character has with a given skill. Skill rank is incorporated
into the skill modifier, which in turn improves the chance of
success for skill checks with that skill.
Small: A Small creature is typically between 2 feet and 4 feet in
height or length and weighs between 8 pounds and 60 pounds.
sorcerer (Sor): A class made up of characters who have inborn
space: The amount of floor space a creature requires to fight
effectively, expressed as one dimension of a square area (for
example, a creature with a space of 10 feet occupies a 10-foot-by-10-
foot area on the battle grid). Space determines how many creatures
can fight side by side in a corridor, as well as how many creatures
can attack a single opponent at once. A creature’s space depends
upon both its size and its body shape. Sometimes also called fighting
special qualities: Characteristics possessed by certain monsters
(and sometimes characters) that are distinctive in some way. The
Monster Manual has detailed information on all special qualities.
speed: The number of feet a creature can move when taking a
spell: A one-time magical effect. The two primary categories of
spells are arcane and divine. Clerics, druids, paladins, and rangers
cast divine spells, while wizards, sorcerers, and bards cast arcane
spells. Spells are further grouped into eight schools of magic.
spell completion item: A magic item (typically a scroll) that
contains a partially cast spell. Since the spell preparation step has
already been completed, all the user need do to cast the spell is
complete the final gestures or words normally required to trigger it.
To use a spell completion item safely, the caster must be high
enough level in the appropriate class to cast the spell already,
though it need not be a known spell. A caster who does not fit this
criterion has a chance of spell failure. Activating a spell completion
item is a standard action and provokes attacks of opportunity just as
casting a spell does.
spell failure: The chance that a spell fails and is ruined when cast
under less than ideal conditions; when a spell is cast to no effect.
spell level: A number from 0 to 9 that indicates the general
power of a spell.
spell-like ability (Sp): A special ability with effects that resemble
those of a spell. In most cases, a spell-like ability works just like the
spell of the same name.
spell preparation: Part of the spellcasting process for wizards,
clerics, paladins, rangers, and druids. Preparing a spell requires
careful reading from a spellbook (for wizards) or devout prayers or
meditation (for divine spellcasters). The character actually casts the
first and lengthiest part of the spell during the preparation phase,
leaving only the very end for completion at another time. To use a
prepared spell, the character finishes the casting with the
appropriate spell components—a few special words, some complex
gestures, a specific item, or a combination of the three. A prepared
spell is used up once cast and cannot be cast again until the
spellcaster prepares it again. Sorcerers and bards need not prepare
spell resistance (SR): A special defensive ability that allows a
creature or item to resist the effects of spells and spell-like abilities.
Supernatural abilities are not subject to spell resistance. To
overcome a creature’s spell resistance, the caster of the spell or spelllike
ability must equal or exceed the creature’s spell resistance with a
caster level check.
spell slot: The “space” in a spellcaster’s mind dedicated to holding
a spell of a particular spell level. A spellcaster has enough spell
slots to accommodate an entire day’s allotment of spells. Spellcasters
who must prepare their spells in advance generally fill their spell
slots during the preparation period, though a few slots can be left
open for spells prepared later in the day. A spellcaster can always opt
to fill a higher-level spell slot with a lower-level spell, if desired.
spell trigger item: A magic item (such as a wand) that produces a
particular spell effect. Any spellcaster whose class spell list includes
a particular spell knows how to use a spell trigger item that
duplicates it, regardless of whether the character knows (or could
know) that spell at the time. The user must determine what the spell
stored in the item is before trying to use it. To activate the item, the
user must speak a word, but no gesture or spell finishing is required.
Activating a spell trigger item is a standard action and does not
provoke attacks of opportunity.
spell version: One of several variations of the same spell. The
caster must select the desired version of the spell at the time of
magic, and create undead
are examples of
spells with multiple
character capable of
splash weapon: A ranged
weapon that splashes on impact,
dealing damage to creatures who are
within 5 feet of the spot where it lands as well as to targets it actually
hits. Attacks with splash weapons are ranged touch attacks.
spontaneous casting: The special ability of a cleric to drop a
prepared spell (but not a domain spell) to gain a cure or inflict spell of
the same level or lower, or of a druid to drop a prepared spell to gain
a summon nature’s ally spell of the same level or lower. Since the
substitution of spells occurs on the spur of the moment, clerics need
not prepare their cure or inflict spells in advance, nor do druids need
to prepare their summon nature’s ally spells in advance.
square: A square on the battle grid. A square is 1 inch on a side
and represents a 5-foot-by-5-foot area. The terms “1 square” and “5
feet” are generally interchangeable.
stable: Unconscious and having a current hit point total between
–1 and –9, but not dying. A dying character who is stable retains no
hit points, but stops losing them at a rate of 1 per round.
stack: Combine for a cumulative effect. In most cases, modifiers
to a given check or roll stack if they come from different sources and
have different descriptors (or no descriptors at all), but do not stack
if they have the same descriptors or come from the same source
(such as the same spell cast twice in succession). If the modifiers to a
particular roll do not stack, only the best bonus or worst penalty
applies. Dodge bonuses and circumstance bonus however, do stack
with one another unless otherwise specified. Spell effected that do
not stack may overlap, coexist independently, or render one another
irrelevant, depending on their exact effects.
staggered: Having nonlethal damage exactly equal to current hit
points. A staggered character may take a single move action or
standard action each round (but not both, nor can she take fullround
standard action: The most basic type of action. Common
standard actions include making a melee or ranged attack, casting a
spell, and using a magic item. In a typical round, a character can take
a standard action and a move action, but he can’t take a second
standard action in place of his move action.
Strength (Str): The ability that measures a character’s muscle and
stunned: A stunned creature drops everything held, can’t take
actions, takes a –2 penalty to AC, and loses his
Dexterity bonus to AC (if any).
subject: A creature affected by a spell.
subschool: A category of spells within
a school of magic. For example,
charm and compulsion are subschools
within the school
subtype: A subdivision
of creature type. For example,
humans and elves are both
of the humanoid type, but each
of those races also constitutes its
own subtype of humanoid.
supernatural ability (Su): A magical power that produces a
particular effect, as opposed to a natural, extraordinary, or spell-like
ability. Using a supernatural ability generally does not provoke an
attack or opportunity. Supernatural abilities are not subject to
dispelling, disruption or spell resistance. However, they do not
function in areas where magic is suppressed or negated, such as
inside an antimagic field.
suppress: Cause a magical effect to cease functioning without
actually ending it. When the supression ends, the spell effect is
returns, provided it has not expired in the meantime.
surprise: A special situation that occurs at the beginning of a
battle if some (but not all) combatants are unaware of their opponents’
presence. In this case, a surprise round happens before
regular rounds begin. In initiative order (highest to lowest), those
combatants who started the battle aware of their opponents each
take a partial action during the surprise round. Creatures unaware of
opponents are flat-footed through the entire surprise round and do
not enter the initiative cycle until the first regular combat round.
take damage: Be affected by damage (either lethals or nonlethal)
from a successful attack. Damage dealt by an opponent does not
necessarily equal damage taken, as various special defenses may
reduce or negate damage from certain kinds of attacks.
take 10: To reduce the chances of failure on certain skill checks
by assuming an average die roll result (10 on a d20 roll). You can’t
take 10 if distracted or threatened, such as during combat.
take 20: To assume that a character makes sufficient retries to
obtain the maximum possible check result (as if a 20 were rolled on
d20). Taking 20 takes as much time as making twenty separate skill
checks (usually at least 2 minutes). Taking 20 assumes that the
character fails many times before succeeding, and thus can’t be used
if failure carries negative consequences.
target: The intended recipient of an attack, spell, supernatural
ability, extraordinary ability, or magical effect. If a targeted spell is
successful, its recipient is known as the subject of the spell.
temporary hit points: Hit points gained for a limited time
through certain spells (such as aid) and magical effects. When a
character with temporary hit points is dealt damage, deduct the
damage from temporary hit points first, then deduct any remaining
damage (if any) to the character’s actual (nontemporary) hit points.
Temporary hit points can cause a character’s hit point total to exceed
its normal maximum.
threat: A possible critical hit.
threat range: All natural die roll results that constitute in a threat
when rolled for an attack roll. For most weapons, the threat range is
20, but some weapons have threat ranges of 19–20 or even 18–20.
Any attack roll that does not result in a hit is not a threat, whether or
not it lies within the weapon’s threat range.
threaten: To be able to attack in melee without moving from
your current space. A creature typically threatens all squares within
its natural reach, even when it is not its turn to take an action. For
Medium or Small creature this usually includes all squares adjacent
to its space. Larger creatures threaten more squares, while smaller
creatures may not threaten any squares except their own.
threatened square: A square within an opponent’s reach. Generally,
characters threaten all adjacent squares, though reach
weapons can alter this range. Certain actions provoke attack of
opportunity when taken within a threatened square.
thrown weapon: A ranged weapon that a character hurls at an
enemy, such as a spear, as opposed to a projectile weapon.
Tiny: A Tiny creature is typically between 1 and 2 feet in height
or length and weighs between 1 and 8 pounds.
total concealment: Attacks against a target with total concealment
have a 50% miss chance. Total concealment blocks line of
sight. See concealment.
total cover: Attacks against a target that has total cover automatically
fail. Total cover blocks line of sight and line of effect. See
touch attack: An attack in which the attacker must connect with
an opponent, but does not need to penetrate armor. Touch attacks
may be either melee or ranged. The target’s armor bonus, shield
bonus, and natural armor bonus (including any enhancement
bonuses to those values) do not apply to AC against a touch attack.
touch spell: A spell that delivers its effect when the caster
touches a target creature or object. Touch spells are delivered to
unwilling targets by touch attacks.
trained: Having at least 1 rank in a skill. Many skills can be used
untrained by making a successful skill check using 0 skill ranks.
Others, such as Spellcraft, can be used only by characters who are
trained in that skill.
transitive plane: A plane of existence often used to travel from
one place (or plane) to another. The Astral Plane, the Ethereal Plane,
and the Plane of Shadow are all transitive planes.
turn: The point in the round at which you take your action(s). On
your turn, you may perform one or more actions, as dictated by your
turn undead: The supernatural ability to drive off or destroy
undead by channeling positive energy.
turned: Affected by a turn undead attempt. Turned undead flee
for 10 rounds (1 minute) by the best and fastest means available to
them. If they cannot flee, they cower.
turning check: A roll of 1d20 + Charisma modifier to determine
how much positive or negative energy is able to be channeled when
attempting to turn or rebuke undead.
turning damage: The number of Hit Dice of undead that are
turned or rebuked with a particular turning check. Turning damage
2d6 + cleric level + Charisma modifier.
two-handed weapon: A weapon designed for use in two hands,
such as a greatsword. A two-handed weapon is considered to be an
object of the same size as its designated wielder (for example, a
Medium greatsword is a Medium object).
type: See creature type.
unarmed attack: A melee attack made with no weapon in hand.
unarmed strike: A successful blow, typically dealing nonlethal
damage, from a character attacking without weapons. A monk can
deal lethal damage with an unarmed strike, but others deal
unconscious: Knocked out and helpless. Unconsciousness can
result from having current hit points between –1 and –9, or from
nonlethal damage in excess of current hit points. A character who is
unconscious as a result of having current hit points between –1 and
–9 who becomes stable has a 10% chance every hour to become
conscious. A character who is unconscious as a result of having
nonlethal damage in excess of current hit points has a 10% chance
every minute to wake up and be staggered.
untrained: Having no ranks in a skill. Many skills can be used
untrained by making a successful skill check using 0 skill ranks and
including all other modifiers as normal. Other skills can be used
only by characters who are trained in that skill.
use-activated item: A magic item that activates upon typical
usage for a normal item of its type. For example, a character can
activate a potion by drinking it, a magic sword by swinging it, a lens
by looking through it, or a cloak by wearing it. Characters do not
learn what a use-activated item does just by wearing or using it
unless the benefit occurs automatically with use.
Will save: A type of saving throw, related to a character’s ability
to withstand damage thanks to his mental toughness.
Wisdom (Wis): The ability that describes a character’s willpower,
common sense, perception, and intuition.
wizard (Wiz): A class made up of characters who are schooled in
the arcane arts.