This document has been prepared in response to questions from theplaytesters of 3rd Edition, and questions we anticipate beingasked during the lead-up to the 3E release. This document willbe updated as often as necessary to respond to player feedbackand commentary.
Our intention prior to the release of the game is to answer someof the "what" questions, but not the "how" or "why" questions.There are still a lot of surprises in the 3rd Edition, and wedon't want to spoil all the fun surrounding the release.
Information about adding a question to this FAQ is included inSection IX.
-- Ryan S. Dancey Vice President, TSR Wizards of the Coast, Inc.
Q: Will there be a 3rd Edition of Dungeons & Dragons?
Q: When will it be released?
A: The first book, the Player's Handbook, will be released in August of the year 2000. The Dungeon Master's Guide will be released in September of 2000, and the Monster Manual in October of 2000.
Also in August we will release a Conversion Guide to help ease the transition between previous editions and 3rd Edition.
Q: How much will it cost?
A: The three core rulebooks will each have a US$20 Suggested Retail Price.
We haven't set pricing yet for the Conversion Book.
Q: $20! That's a lot less than the current books! What's going on?
A: The three core rulebooks of D&D are printed in quantities far beyond every other tabletop RPG product. That means that we get an incredible economy of scale for printing in such huge volumes.
We've worked to design the 3rd Edition books to maintain the same presentation that you've come to expect (hard covers, color interior art, paper quality, etc.), and allow us to keep printing costs as low as possible. Some of those savings are being passed along to you.
We believe in getting 3rd Edition into as many hands as possible, as fast as possible. We think our target price will help accomplish that objective.
Q: How many books will I need to buy to play 3rd Edition?
A: Just the Player's Handbook. The PHB will contain all the rules necessary to play the game. Players will not need any other book to play. DMs will need both the DMG and the Monster Manual.
Q: What's in the DMG then?
A: The DMG will contain loads of advice, special tables and charts for the DM to aid in adventure and campaign design, and information on how to use the new 3rd Edition mechanics under a lot of in-game situations.
The DMG will also have many magic items not described in the PHB, as well as other information that is not required for play but does add flavor or additional options. Also the rules for special types of attacks (like level draining) are covered in the DMG. The DMG also contains the material related to calculating and awarding experience points.
We want the 3rd Edition DMG to echo the strengths of the 1st Edition version - lots of really cool stuff for DMs.
Q: Is this game the same as Basic DUNGEONS & DRAGONS?
A: No. This game is the third version of the rules formerly titled "ADVANCED" DUNGEONS & DRAGONS.
Q: Why drop the ADVANCED?
A: The game system formerly marketed as DUNGEONS & DRAGONS (no ADVANCED) is no longer in print. So there's nothing for 3rd Edition to be "advanced" from.
There has also been a longstanding concern that the "Advanced" keyword was causing some people to bypass the game it implies that purchasers should have some level of mastery of the game.
Q: Why are you doing a new version of the game?
A: It's been ten years since 2nd-edition AD&D debuted. During that time, both D&D and RPGs in general have evolved significantly. We felt that it was time to upgrade the basic mechanics to reflect ten more years of game design advances, eliminate any contradictions, and provide our fans with the definitive RPG as we move into the 21st Century.
Q: Isn't this just a chance for WotC to make me pay money for books I already own?
A: We feel that the 3rd Edition will be so sufficiently exciting that most people will look forward to the update, rather than feeling forced to buy new product.
Q: Isn't it in WotC's interest to make a game that is as incompatible as possible with previous material to force people to buy a whole new game?
In fact, it is against WotC's best interests to make a game so incompatible that the majority of existing players would perceive it to be a "new game". Part of the value of DUNGEONS & DRAGONS is related to the number of people who know how to play the game. That community of existing players is a valuable resource that no other RPG in the world can draw on. We want you to be able to take your 3rd Edition character to your local game convention, sit down at any D&D game being played, and be able to join right in with a modicum of disruption.
Rendering 3rd Edition totally incompatible with the games that the existing network of players enjoy would not support that objective.
Q: Who designed the 3rd Edition?
A: The designers of 3rd Edition are Monte Cook, Jonathan Tweet, and Skip Williams. The core rulebooks are being edited by Julia Martin, Kim Mohan, Jon Pickens, John Rateliff, and Jennifer Clarke-Wilkes. Peter Adkison, Rich Baker, Skaff Elias, Bill Slavicsek and Ed Stark also contributed substantially to the new rules. From time to time, Keith Strohm, David Wise, Jim Butler, Cindi Rice and Ryan Dancey assisted with the work. The whole Wizards of the Cost RPG R&D group has been involved with the design for more than two years, and many other WotC staff members have contributed to the effort.
Q: I've heard that WotC is run by a bunch of suits who don't game, and products are designed by marketers who wouldn't know an orc from a bugbear. Why should we expect this bunch to do a good job updating the game we love?
A: It might surprise you to learn that most of the managers at Wizards of the Coast are long time gamers. Peter Adkison, the CEO, published a small-press product called "The Primal Order" long before the first trading card game was even conceived, when Wizards of the Coast was still run out of his basement.
In fact "the Wizards of the Coast" are an active guild of spellcasters in Peter's long running homegrown D&D campaign (known as Chaldea), that he has been running since the late 1970's.
The rest of the DUNGEONS & DRAGONS team have been playing D&D for years, and many have been working on D&D products for more than a decade.
Far from being designed by suits with no gaming experience, 3rd Edition is being created by a team of people who love playing DUNGEONS & DRAGONS so much they've made a career out of working on the game!
Q: Did you playtest this game?
More than 1,000 people participated in the external playtest over more than a year and a half of time. Playtesters included those new to D&D as well as those who have been playing the game since its inception.
Q: Where did these playtesters come from?
A: Many were drawn from the ranks of the RPGA. Having a chance to playtest new D&D materials is one of the many perks of RPGA membership.
Q: Will 3rd Edition make all my 2nd Edition books obsolete?
A: There is no hard and fast answer to that question.
Much of the 2nd Edition material is "source". In other words, it presents characters, places, adventures, histories, etc. as informational content without reference to specific game mechanics. All of that material, obviously, will remain usable with the 3rd Edition.
Other types of products will be less usable - either because they have been superseded by 3rd Edition rules, or because they represent game systems we do not intend to support further.
Finally, there will be a lot of material that is fairly easy to convert between the two systems, and presupposing that you're willing to do a little bit of work, you should be able to continue to use those products with the 3rd Edition without substantial disruption.
Q: Great. Now I have to go out and spend thousands of dollars to upgrade or replace my 2nd Edition library. How fair is that?
A: If you have an extensive TSR library, chances are most of it is campaign source material. Although some adjustments (such as character stats) may be necessary, most of that material remains as valuable as ever.
The good news is we don't plan to replace your library with another one of equal size. One very important lesson Wizards of the Coast learned from TSR: Don't saturate the market. We don't expect to produce nearly the same number of different items for 3rd Edition as we did for 2nd. We'd like to see the number of basic rulebooks kept to a small number, and we want to keep the number of books that players will use equally manageable.
Q: Will you continue to produce new 2nd Edition books once 3rd Edition is released?
Starting in August of the year 2000, all new D&D products will be 3rd Edition products, including the material for the D&D worlds.
Q: So you're going to blow up the worlds again like the Time of Troubles did in the FORGOTTEN REALMS when 2nd Edition came out?
There are a few products on the 2000 schedule that are designed for DMs who want to wind down a 2nd edition campaign in preparation for starting a 3rd edition one, but they are not setting-specific and continuity in the various Worlds will not be excessively effected by the change in systems.
Q: Will you continue to print and make available for sale any 2nd Edition products?
There are a substantial number of existing products that will continue to be available for some time after the 3rd Edition is released. These include (but are not limited to), the PHBR Complete Handbooks, the Magic Encyclopedia, the Priest and Wizard Spell Compendia, and the basic materials for the D&D worlds.
Over time, some of these items may be replaced by new 3rd Edition products, and when that happens, the 2nd Edition version will go out of print.
Return to Table of Contents
Q: Do characters still have six basic stats?
Characters are defined essentially the same way they always have been. The six basic stats, and what they mean, are unchanged. No stats have been added. The normal Human range for these stats is 3-18. Player Character stats will tend to be slightly higher than average.
Q: Do you still roll dice to determine your stats?
A: Yes, although we have standardized the mechanic for generating the six basic Abilities.
First, you roll 4d6, and keep the best three dice, and second, you create six totals, then assign them to the six Abilities as you wish.
Q: Does the game still have Classes and Levels?
Characters still have a class, and a level. Some characters will have more than one class. 3rd Edition is designed to handle PCs from 1st to 20th level.
Q: What happens after 20th level?
A: Really high level characters (and campaigns) will be addressed in a future book.
Q: Are there demihuman level limits?
Any character can rise to any level in any class, regardless of race. Any character can be any class, regardless of race.
Q: Does 3rd Edition support multiclassed or dualclassed characters?
We've worked to increase the flexibility and balance of the multiclass system. Most class and race combinations are possible. There will be Gnome Paladin Wizard characters.
Q: What about alignment?
A: We've tried to do a better job of explaining how to use it and what its effects in the game are. In the DMG, a discussion is presented about how to use a few different alignment options that are less strict than the classic alignment graph.
Return to Table of Contents
Q: What about Weapon/Non Weapon Proficiencies?
A: W/NWP's have been totally replaced by a fully integrated Skill System. The Skill System uses a standard resolution mechanic.
Q: What is a standard resolution mechanic?
A: In 3rd Edition, die rolls to determine successes are used the same way for making a Saving Throw, hitting an opponent in combat, or using a Skill. In each case, the player makes a d20 roll, where higher is always better. Depending on the type of the roll and the situation, the die will have various modifiers added to, or subtracted from it. The final value of the modified roll is compared to a target number (called a "Difficulty Class", abbreviated to "DC"), and if the roll is equal to or greater than the DC, the roll was successful.
Q: How do the Thief abilities work?
A: They've been converted to the standard skill system.
Q: Can any character have any skill?
There are many skills that are available only to certain classes, or only to characters of certain levels in certain classes.
However, most skills are available to most classes. Skills not commonly associated with a given class are harder for characters of that class to learn.
Our objective was to reinforce the class stereotypes for players that need or want an easy path of character development, but also allow players who demand more flexibility to create a character to express their creativity.
Q: What if nobody in the party has the right skill for a given situation?
A: The rules for skill use anticipate the need to use some of the skills without being trained in their use.
Q: If you're not going to use W/NWPs, how can I convert my existing 2nd Edition character?
A: That is an excellent question.
There are many direct matches between Non-Weapon Proficiencies and the new Skills. For many obscure NWPs, it will not be difficult for you and your DM to agree on a house rule.
The "kit system" will also be handled in a similar fashion. The conversion book will touch extensively on both of these topics.
Q: What is more important: My character's class or my character's Skills?
A: In most cases, the character's class will be more important. The Skill system is designed to allow you to round out the basic skeleton provided by class and race. So much of the game relies on the classes, however, that they will always be the pre-eminent defining aspect of your character.
Return to Table of Contents
Q: How does combat work?
A: Just like it always has. You roll a d20, add a bunch of modifiers for things like Strength, magic bonuses, etc. If your modified roll is equal to or greater than the Armor Class of the target, you hit.
Q: Wait a minute. Armor Class goes up?
Armor works exactly like it always has, except instead of starting at AC10 and going down, it starts at AC10 and goes up. A character with an AC-2 in 2nd Edition would have an AC22 in 3rd Edition.
Q: So - no more THAC0?
A: Right. You don't need to do any calculation on your to-hit roll. You just figure out the total of the die roll plus modifiers, and that's the AC you hit.
Q: So the DC of a to-hit roll is the AC of the target? [grin]
A: That's exactly right!
Q: How does damage work?
A: Damage works just like it always has. Each weapon delivers a specific range of damage.
Q: What about critical hits?
A: There are critical hits in 3rd Edition.
Q: How long is a 3rd Edition combat round?
A: Six seconds.
Q: How is initiative handled?
A: 3rd Edition initiative is not rolled from round to round. Instead, at the beginning of combat, each participant rolls for initiative, and that's the order they take actions in throughout the conflict. We've also adopted one of the most popular house rules: a character's DEX will affect their initiative roll! There are also standard actions a character can take to move "up" or "down" the initiative order for tactical advantage.
This is one of the areas of the rules that will cause a lot of controversy. We've tested a whole lot of options, and cyclic initiative has proven to be the best of the lot.
Some playtesters prefer to roll every round; others love the streamlined, roll-once system. You owe it to yourself to try the faster system, but it's up to you which way you play
Q: Nobody in my group will ever use this silly new initiative system. What about those of us who Want to roll for initiative each round?
A: The DMG will contain a fairly detailed discussion of initiative, including some suggestions for how to use a roll-each-round initiative system.
We honestly hope that most gamers will give the new system a whirl and see how it really works in play. given a fair shake, we think a lot of you will like it.
Q: What about weapon speed factors?
A: Since a D&D combat round is an abstraction of a variety of feints, attacks, parries, etc. there is no correlation between the size or weight of a weapon and how soon in the initiative order that weapon should score a hit that inflicts damage. Weapon speed factors have been removed from the game in 3rd Edition.
Q: Do characters get multiple attacks?
A: Yes they do. Multiple attacks are a function of Level and Skills. And in 3rd Edition, every class eventually gets multiple attacks - not just fighters!
Q: Are there still "fractional attacks", like 2 attacks per 3 rounds?
A: No. When your character earns an additional attack, they may take it every round.
Q: How about Saving Throws?
A: The basic concept of the Saving Throw has been retained. Sometimes, your character has a chance to avoid or reduce a severe negative outcome via a die roll.
In order to make a successful save, you roll a d20. Higher is always better. There will probably be modifiers to the die roll based on your character's stats, class, level and the situation. The DM will know what the DC of the Save is, and if your modified roll is equal to or greater than the DC, you make the Save!
Q: What about hit points?
A: The hit point system is essentially unchanged. There have been some modifications to the rules dealing with character death. The "optional rule" of hovering on death's door when your HP total is reduced below 1 has become a standard part of the system. There are also rules for handling unconsciousness, trauma and shock. The rules also handle non-lethal subdual damage as well.
Q: Hit points and armor class are so silly. Why didn't you use a more realistic combat system?
A: For three reasons. First, we want the game to remain strongly compatible with previous versions. Second, we want a combat system that is fast and exciting. Third, feedback from our customers overwhelmingly supported leaving hit points and armor class unchanged.
Q: But I want more realism! Plate armor doesn't make you harder to hit!
A: First, understand that it will be far easier for you to use a house rule for more realistic combat and convert 3rd Edition to those rules than it would be to put a hyper-realistic combat system in 3rd Edition and ask the millions of gamers who don't want it to try and convert back to the classic system.
Second, please realize that Armor Class has >never< represented how hard it is to score a hit. AC has always been an abstraction of how hard it is to score a hit that >inflicts damage<. Heavy armor makes it harder to inflict damage than light armor. All the variables that go into an AC calculation (DEX bonus, armor, magic effects, combat modifiers, etc.) all eventually produce a single value that represents how hard it will be for an opponent to hurt you, not hit you. That's a subtle distinction, but an important one.
Q: What about attacks that armor wouldn't block?
A: 3rd Edition has a standard rule for attacks that ignore armor. For these types of attacks, plate armor doesn't help at all!
Return to Table of Contents
Q: Do spells still work the same way?
We kept the existing classic spell system, which requires most spellcasters to memorize the spells they want to cast, and lose the ability to cast a given spell once it is cast (the so called "fire and forget" system).
Q: Level for level, do 3rd Edition characters cast more spells than their predecessors?
A: Overall, yes. Wizards, for example, now get bonus spells for high Intelligence scores. Spellcasters can also prepare basic spells (such as detect magic) without taking up a 1st-level slot.
Q: Are there separate spell lists for the spellcasting classes?
A: Yes, but spells are presented differently than in previous editions of the game.
In 3rd Edition, there is one unified spell chapter. Each spell indicates what classes can cast it, and at what level. A spell such as "Light" that can be cast both by Wizards and by Priests appears in the spell list once, and it works the same way for both types of spellcasters. However, when cast by a Wizard, the spell is considered an "arcane spell", and when cast by a Priest, it is considered a "divine spell".
There are spells in the list that can only be cast by one type of spellcaster, but they are the exception rather than the rule.
There will be a "reverse index" so each class can quickly reference what spells they can cast and at what level.
Q: How is magic resistance handled?
A: Each spell (and spell like effect) in the game contains a description of how it is affected by magic resistance. This should remove substantially all the confusion over how to adjudicate the effects of Magic Resistance.
Also, in a return to a 1st Edition rule, the higher the level of the spellcaster, the easier it will be for that caster to affect creatures with magic resistance!
Q: How are illusions handled?
A: The 3rd Edition system takes special pains to codify the type, nature, and effects of various illusions. Under 3rd Edition, the DM and the players should have no problem figuring out how illusions affect characters and are perceived by opponents.
Return to Table of Contents
Q: Will there still be campaign settings?
Q: Which settings will you continue to support with published products?
A: The FORGOTTEN REALMS setting will continue to be developed much as it has been for the past ten years.
DRAGONLANCE will continue to be primarily supported by the novels and products linked to the novels.
GREYHAWK will again be recognized as the default D&D setting.
In the short term, there will be no other published products for the other D&D worlds. Some material for the older worlds will appear from time to time in DRAGON and on the D&D web site.
In the long term, new settings will be added or older settings revived when the number of people playing D&D has again grown large enough to accommodate them.
Q: What will happen to the FORGOTTEN REALMS?
A: The Realms is going to embrace the fact that it has been so extensively developed, making that a feature rather than a drawback.
A CD-ROM product featuring most of the out of print material published for the Realms will be released in either 2000 or 2001, depending on how fast the material can be scanned and prepared for distribution. That product will become the cornerstone of the setting, allowing future designers to reference even the most obscure part of Realmslore safe in the knowledge that locating more detailed information is only a mouseclick away for the DM.
The second part of this strategy is the creation of a new hardback book that will be the standard reference for the Realms under 3rd Edition. This hardback will replace the current 2nd Edition FORGOTTEN REALMS boxed set. We expect to release this book in 2001.
Q: What do you mean when you say the DRAGONLANCE products will be linked to the novels?
A: Currently, our plans for DRAGONLANCE gaming products are not finalized. We may do a hardback book like the one planned for the Realms sometime after 2001. The new DRAGONLANCE trilogy (The "War of Souls") starts in 2000, and the third book will be released in 2002. We think the best strategy for gaming product is to work closely with the evolving War of Souls trilogy. As the DRAGONLANCE plan evolves, we'll continue to update everyone as to what we're working on in terms of RPG products.
Q: What does it mean for GREYHAWK to be the "default" D&D setting?
A: Starting with the 1st Edition AD&D Player's Handbook, the GREYHAWK world has been inextricably connected with the DUNGEONS & DRAGONS game.
Even in those earliest days, the proper names associated with many spells, such as Bigby, Tenser, and Mordenkanien were all major NPCs in GREYHAWK. The names of certain artifacts and magic items are similarly connected with GREYHAWK, featuring the names of powerful NPCs like Keoghtom, Kwalish, and Murlynd. The basic monster lists for D&D were based on the creatures of Oerth as featured in the GREYHAWK adventures Dungeon Mastered by the game's co-creator Gary Gygax.
With 3rd Edition, we are embracing that historical connection. GREYHAWK could be defined as "the world you adventure in when all you use is the PHB and DMG, unless your DM tells you otherwise."
We're going to keep development of GREYHAWK materials to a minimum. GREYHAWK is for the DM to explore, create and define, not WotC. Those who want to share their ideas with other players and DMs will find a wealth of connections in the RPGA Network's planned "Living Campaign" which will be set in GREYHAWK.
When we publish an adventure product or sourcebook that does not carry a campaign setting logo, that product will use GREYHAWK references as the standard, and it will assume a basic level of GREYHAWK information. That information will all be included with the PHG and DMG - you won't be required to purchase a GREYHAWK world book in order to understand the context of that information.
That said, it will still be easy to convert anything produced for core DUNGEONS & DRAGONS for use in any of the basic fantasy worlds TSR has previously published, or to homegrown campaign worlds created by DMs for their own use.
Q: What about PLANESCAPE?
A: Unlike previous editions of DUNGEONS & DRAGONS, 3rd Edition has no specifically defined cosmology. The PLANESCAPE setting will become one of many possible options for how the universe works.
Q: What about RAVENLOFT?
A: The concept of gothic horror (and other types of horror) role playing has been with the DUNGEONS & DRAGONS game since the publication of the original RAVENLOFT adventure in the mid 1980's. We will continue to produce products designed to support horror-based campaigns, but they will be designed to support that type of play without requiring the use of the RAVENLOFT source material.
Return to Table of Contents
Q: Will 3rd Edition support Psionics?
A: Not in the PHB.
What we intend to do for 3rd Edition is release a stand alone Psionics book in 2001 that will provide a complete system for integrating psionic powers into the core rules. That integration will include the interaction between magic and Psionics, how to use psionic monsters, how to deal with the effects of clairvoyance, telepathy, teleportation, and other powers that circumvent the normal physical limitations of the game.
That product will be referenced by any subsequent material produced for 3rd Edition that uses Psionics. Such products will be fairly rare.
This strategy will allow players and DMs who want to allow Psionics into the game to do so in a controlled and consistent fashion, and for those who do not wish to deviate from the standard fantasy archetypes to ignore Psionics entirely.
This product will contain rules for psionic PCs, an extensive list of psionic monsters, psionic empowered items, spells that affect Psionics, and everything else needed to use the powers of the mind effectively.
There will be a very brief treatment of Psionics in the Dungeon Master's Guide, primarily to support the use of psionic-enabled monsters like Mind Flayers, Intellect Devourers and Yuan-Ti. Those monsters will be extensively developed in the Psionics book, but will appear in a simplified form in the 3rd Edition Monster Manual.
Q: What happened to the Planes?
A: We decided that each DM should have the option to create a cosmology to suit their individual tastes.
In 2001, we will release a new hardback Manual of the Planes book. Instead of being a catalog of the planes, the new Manual of the Planes will present rules and techniques for DMs to create custom cosmologies. It will also support the spells, items, and monsters one is likely to encounter during planar travel. We currently plan to revisit the classic planar structure as an example in this product. We may also cover the DRAGONLANCE cosmology, and perhaps the DARK SUN cosmology as well.
The 3rd Edition PHB and DMG will contain a few references to the planes. Planar travel will be possible with the spells and items in the PHB, to a limited degree. Those basic building blocks are provided with an eye towards short episodes set on planes other than the Prime Material, with the anticipation that those DMs interested in a much more detailed planar campaign will use the new Manual of the Planes material in that effort.
Q: I've heard from some of the playtesters that 3rd Edition requires miniatures - is that true?
For a substantial portion of the playtest period, the 3rd Edition manuscript included a fairly detailed combat system that encouraged the use of miniatures for determining facing and relative positioning.
Those aspects have been somewhat toned down in the final manuscript. 3rd Edition will still support miniatures use far better than any previous version of D&D, but by no means are miniatures required to use the rules.
The current set of rules is complete enough to support battles at the "skirmish level" - that is, conflicts where the number of opponents is limited to no more than few dozen.
For battles larger than that, a dedicated wargaming system is going to be helpful. There are plans to develop such a system, compatible with 3rd Edition DUNGEONS & DRAGONS at some point in the future. As more details are finalized, they will be made public.
Q: What about the Player's Option books?
A: They will no longer be supported after the release of 3rd Edition.
Return to Table of Contents
Q: Where do I look for official 3rd Edition information?
A: There are two official sources for 3rd Edition updates.
www.wizards.com/3rdedition will be your primary on-line reference. It will feature news, special announcements, lots of interaction with the 3rd Edition team, etc.
DRAGON magazine will be your primary in-print source For news and updated information. There will be some 3rd Edition content in DRAGON monthly up to the release next August.
Return to Table of Contents
To learn more about Wizards of the Coast and DUNGEONS & DRAGONSin general, link your browser to www.wizards.com
Requests to add a FAQ, other questions, comments or generalfeedback about this FAQ can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org
Surface mail can be sent to the D&D Brand Team care of Wizardsof the Coast, PO Box 707, Redmond, WA 98057-0707.
This FAQ may be distributed freely, provided that it is notaltered, all copyright and trademark information is leftunchanged, and this section is included.
DUNGEONS & DRAGONS, ADVANCED DUNGEONS & DRAGONS, D&D, AD&D,DUNGEON MASTER, FORGOTTEN REALMS, GREYHAWK, DRAGONLANCE,PLANESCAPE, RAVENLOFT, DARK SUN and all related marks areTrademarks, Registered Trademarks, or Copyrights owned byWizards of the Coast, Inc. All rights reserved.
Return to Table of Contents