Sage Advice is a monthly column that gives official clarifications of D&D rules. Sometimes it also provides reference documents to help your D&D game run more smoothly.
This month, we dip into my Twitter archive and add a bunch of questions and answers from it to the Sage Advice Compendium. With the help of Chris Dupuis, I’ve tweaked or extended a number of the answers, which are drawn from July and August of 2015. The answers touch on a variety of rules topics.
If you have a D&D rules question, please reach me on Twitter (@JeremyECrawford), where I answer questions every week (please send the question to firstname.lastname@example.org if it’s too long for a tweet).
My rulings here and on Twitter don’t override the decisions of a Dungeon Master. The answers and information I provide are meant to assist a DM in adjudicating the game.
Does the barbarian’s Danger Sense work against breath weapons and enemies’ special abilities? A barbarian’s Danger Sense benefits any Dexterity saving throw against an effect that the barbarian can see.
Can a Circle of the Moon druid speak the languages it knows while in the form of an elemental? Yes, since the elementals listed in Elemental Wild Shape can speak.
If a druid in elemental form can speak, can the druid cast spells? A druid can cast spells in a Wild Shape form only upon gaining the Beast Spells feature at 18th level.
If a druid takes the Magic Initiate feat and chooses detect magic as their one spell, can the druid cast that spell as a ritual? A druid's Ritual Casting requires a ritual to be prepared. The spell from Magic Initiate is known but not prepared.
Does the “when” in the Eldritch Knight’s War Magic feature mean the bonus attack comes after you cast the cantrip, or can it come before? The intent is that the bonus attack can come before or after the cantrip. You choose when to take a bonus action during your turn, unless the bonus action specifies when it must take place (PH, 189).
There is no component pouch option in the Ranger’s starting equipment. Does the class not need one nor a focus for spells? A ranger follows the spellcasting rules in chapter 10 of the Player’s Handbook, including the rule on components. A ranger typically uses a component pouch for the material components of spells, but doesn’t start with one because rangers don’t have spells at 1st level.
Can a rogue use Evasion if they are surprised? The rule states that “if you are surprised, you can’t move or take an action…” A surprised rogue can use Evasion, since that feature doesn’t require the rogue to take an action or move.
Metamagic rules state you can’t use multiple Metamagic options on a single spell. Can you use one option multiple times? The intent is that a sorcerer can use one Metamagic option once with a spell, not the same option more than once.
Does using a bonus action break invisibility from a warlock’s One with Shadows invocation? Taking a bonus action breaks the invisibility of a warlock’s One with Shadows. A bonus action is an action.
Does the 14th-level Illusionist ability let you make something real every round, or just once? Illusory Reality is intended to make one illusory object real per illusion spell.
An abjurer gains resistance to spell damage at 14th level. Does the abjurer’s Arcane Ward gain this resistance when a spell hits the abjurer? The abjurer, not the Arcane Ward, gains the resistance at 14th level.
Are ability score improvements class level dependent, rather than total level? Ability score improvements are based on your level in a particular class, not your total level if you multiclass. Your class table tells you when you get the improvement.
A wizard multiclasses into Wild Magic sorcerer. Do spells cast from their spellbook trigger Wild Magic Surge if they are on the sorcerer spell list or do they have to gain them from Sorcerer to trigger? From the multiclassing rules: “Each spell you know and prepare is associated with one of your classes” (PH, 164). This rule means only the spells gained from levels in sorcerer trigger Wild Magic Surge.
When multiclassing, do you get the cantrips from all your classes? If any of your classes grants you cantrips, you get all of them.
Do you gain proficiency in more saving throws when multiclassing? A class offers various starting proficiencies that you get if it is your first class. If the class isn’t your first, you get only the starting proficiencies listed for that class in the Multiclassing Proficiencies table (PH, 164). No saving throw proficiencies are included in that table.
Regardless of whether a class is your first, you do gain any proficiencies that the class grants through its features. For instance, if you gain a level in cleric and choose the War Domain, you do benefit from the Bonus Proficiencies feature, even if cleric isn’t your first class.
Can I multiclass into the same class to pick more than one subclass? Multiclassing is designed solely for taking different classes. For example, you can be a fighter/rogue, but not a rogue/rogue.
Can a flying creature without the hover trait stay in one place while airborne, or does it need to move each round? A flyer that lacks the hover trait can stay aloft without moving each round.
Can you move through a prone enemy? The prone condition doesn’t override the rule that prevents you from moving through an enemy’s space, unless that enemy is at least two sizes larger or smaller than you. If you do move through another creature’s space—whether a friend or an enemy—the space is difficult terrain for you, and you can’t willingly end your move there. See the Player’s Handbook, page 190–92, for more on movement in combat.
Does travel pace apply to movement in combat, or just when traveling? The travel pace rule (PH, 181–2) doesn’t apply in combat.
Can a blinded creature make an opportunity attack? An opportunity attack is triggered by “a hostile creature you can see” (PH, 195). If you can’t see an enemy, you can’t make an opportunity attack against it.
Can an opportunity attack be used to make a grapple or a shove? Grappling/shoving are part of the Attack action (PH, 195), not an opportunity attack. Take the Ready action to grapple/shove outside your turn.
Can damage be reduced to 0 by resistance or another form of damage reduction? There is no damage minimum in the rules, so it is possible to deal 0 damage with an attack, a spell, or another effect.
Target at range caught in melee combat, does that target get some kind of cover or do I get disadvantage? Your target has half-cover if another creature is between you and the target (PH, 196).
For readying a spell or other action, does the target have to be in range? Your target must be within range when you take a readied action, not when you first ready it.
How does readying a spell work? Do you lose your spell slot if the trigger never occurs? A readied spell’s slot is lost if you don’t release the spell with your reaction before the start of your next turn.
Some spells (like eldritch blast) target a creature. Some others (like fire bolt) target objects too. Does this mean that I can’t attack the door with eldritch blast? The target specifications (creature, object, or something else) in spells are intentional.
Does a “melee spell attack” count as a “melee attack” for Touch of Death? A melee spell attack is, indeed, a melee attack and can qualify for the Death cleric’s Touch of Death feature.
If a spell has a longer casting time, do you have to complete its time requirement in order to successfully cast the spell? See the “Longer Casting Times” section of the Player’s Handbook (p. 202) for how such casting times work.
Do contagion effects kick in immediately, or do they kick in when the target fails the three saving throws? The effects of the contagion spell's disease are meant to activate after three failed saving throws.
If dispel magic targets the magical effect from bless cast by a cleric, does it remove the effect on all the targets? Dispel magic ends a spell on one target. It doesn’t end the same spell on other targets.
Can the extra action granted by haste be used to activate a magic item? No. Activating a magic item isn’t a function of the Use an Object action (DMG, 141).
Does the extra damage from hex only apply if there is an attack roll? The extra damage in the hex spell requires an attack that hits.
Can an object created with minor illusion move? For example, a wall sliding down a corridor? An illusory object created by a minor illusion doesn’t move. Compare to spells like mislead that talk about moving.
Can a spell such as fireball go past its 20-foot radius if the point of origin is set in an enclosed space? The fire of the fireball spell can spread around corners, but it’s limited by the spell’s 20-foot radius.
Does a friendly creature under the effects of polymorph have to take the mental stats of the new form? Yes, that’s the intent.
Does a monster with at-will spellcasting ability mean it can cast a spell as an action or as a bonus action? If a monster has the ability to cast a spell at will, that spell is cast using its normal casting time.
The Monster Manual says gnolls speak Gnoll, but the Player’s Handbook doesn’t mention that language. What is correct? The Player’s Handbook language tables don’t list every language in the D&D multiverse. The Monster Manual includes other languages, including Sahuagin and Gnoll.
Does the movement from a dragon’s Wing Attack legendary action draw attacks of opportunity if it moves out of reach? Nothing in Wing Attack protects the dragon from opportunity attacks.
A monster is immune to damage from nonmagical bludgeoning weapons. Does it still take damage from falling? Yes, that monster is still going to feel the hurt of a fall.
If a monster makes a melee attack that uses its Dexterity modifier, is it considered to have used a finesse weapon? A weapon doesn't have the finesse property unless its description says so, and using Dexterity for an attack doesn't confer the finesse property. If a weapon does have that property, you can use Strength or Dexterity with it.
How does a monster’s Leadership ability work? Is it one time or 1/round for all allies’ actions for 1 minute? A creature turns on Leadership as an action. Until the benefit ends, the creature can grant a die whenever a visible ally in range attacks/saves.
Is a vampire affected by hold person or calm emotions? A vampire has the undead creature type, not the humanoid type, so it isn’t affected by either of those spells.
Can potions be administered to unconscious characters as an action? Yes, you can administer a potion to someone else as an action (DMG, 139).
Are magic weapons with the thrown property (javelins and the like) assumed to return to their owner after being thrown? If a magic weapon returns to you after you throw it, its description says so, as in the dwarven thrower (DMG, 167).
Would an elf get a saving throw versus a philter of love as it’s a charm? The description implies there is no save. There is no save against the philter of love. The love is just that strong.
If a potion doesn’t duplicate a spell, does it require concentration? A potion’s effect requires concentration only if its description says so or if it duplicates a spell that requires concentration.
Sage Advice Compendium
The Sage Advice Compendium gathers every installment of Sage Advice in one PDF. It’s been updated to include this month’s column.
Here are other D&D reference documents we’ve posted on this website.
D&D Spell List (version 1.01)
Monsters by Challenge Rating (version 1.0)
D&D Monsters by Type (version 1.0)
Magic Items by Rarity (version 1.0)
Conversions to 5th Edition D&D (version 1.01)
About the Author
Jeremy Crawford is the co-lead designer of fifth edition Dungeons & Dragons. He was the lead designer of the fifth edition Player’s Handbook and one of the leads on the Dungeon Master’s Guide. He has worked on many other D&D books since coming to Wizards of the Coast in 2007. You can reach him on Twitter (@JeremyECrawford).