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D&D 5E DM's: How Do You Justify NPC's Having Magic/Abilities That Don't Exist in the PHB?

TwoSix

"Diegetics", by L. Ron Gygax
The default is what the game defaults to if it's not changed. It's the core rule. In this case the default is very clearly multiple attacks in a round. Not one attack that might do some variable amount of damage based on multiple d20 rolls. The latter is an abstraction that you are home brewing in that is not present by default.
<shrug> I don't agree.
 

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generic

On that metempsychosis tweak
Looking for some input on how you DM's justify in-game mechanics or magical effects that some npc's may have, but aren't listed in the PHB? For ex., you want your BBEG to appear in hologram/projected form before the pc's and kill one of his own minions with Power Word: Kill. His projected image then sits and has a conversation with the PC's, inviting them to join his forces.

Fun idea but there's nothing in the PHB to allow this specifically. How does one justify the fact that this individual has access to magic that isn't available to the PC's and what might you say to the party wizard who says they want to learn to do that?

Many thanks in advance for any thoughts!
I don't.

There's lots of different wibbly-wobbly magicky wagicky stuff going around, and wizards are just doing their best approximation of it. I don't necessarily view the DM as an absolutely omniscient information dispenser, maybe the vampiric warlord/evil wizard/mind flayer has access to some weird, wacky magic that no one understands. If the player has their character express an earnest interest in figuring out how that weird magic works, I'll turn it into a little side quest or a downtime activity.
 

Irlo

Hero
That's like saying that no one can tell that a Red Dragon Sorcerer's fireball hurts more, so no one can know that their Elemental Affinity exists as an ability.
Yes, it's sort of like saying that.

The Red Dragon Sorceror rises imperiously from her throne and, with a snarl and a flourish of her staff, sends forth a blast of fire. Moments later, Lameo the Regular Sorceror ignites some bat guano. Boom.

One fireball does 37 damage. The other does 40 damage. Which came from the Red Dragon Sorceror with Elemental Affinity?
 

TwoSix

"Diegetics", by L. Ron Gygax
Two main reasons.

1) It's silly to try to assert a default on the newest interpretation of a game that had already been extant for 40 years at the time of the 5e PHB release, especially when that game had already been forked into multiple, sometimes opposing, playstyles over time and previous edition releases.

2) People try to assert "default" to somehow mean more correct, as though there's some secret "silent majority" of D&D players that agree with their playstyle assertions. The whole point of discussing playstyles is to learn tricks that make play at your own table better, not to try and assert some definitional orthodoxy.
 


TwoSix

"Diegetics", by L. Ron Gygax
I don't.

There's lots of different wibbly-wobbly magicky wagicky stuff going around, and wizards are just doing their best approximation of it. I don't necessarily view the DM as an absolutely omniscient information dispenser, maybe the vampiric warlord/evil wizard/mind flayer has access to some weird, wacky magic that no one understands. If the player has their character express an earnest interest in figuring out how that weird magic works, I'll turn it into a little side quest or a downtime activity.
Exactly this. Wizard magic is just a small portion of the magic that can exist.
 

generic

On that metempsychosis tweak
2) People try to assert "default" to somehow mean more correct, as though there's some secret "silent majority" of D&D players that agree with their playstyle assertions. The whole point of discussing playstyles is to learn tricks that make play at your own table better, not to try and assert some definitional orthodoxy.
This behavior is especially cancerous because it completely sidesteps the point of the game as a set of rules meant to assist in developing a shared narrative between the DM and the players. It's fine to have debates about RAW, but the 'default', or the position expressed in the official rulebooks, should by no means be seen as the only way to play D&D. Heck, the 5E DMG explicitly says otherwise!
 

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