4 Surprising D&D Rules You Should Know AboutWritten by Janna - Published on April 24, 2009
It seems that Wizards has tried to cut down on arbitrary rules by doing away with a lot of the flavor text of older editions. What remains in 4E is pretty cut and dry. But some rules still get misinterpreted, forgotten, or lost in obscure corners of rulebooks where no sane person would think to look.
Here are four commonly misunderstood rules and their actual mechanics, according to WotC.
Rule #1: Paladins can’t lay themselves.
According to the Rules… They totally can.
Why It’s Confusing: The entry for the paladin’s ‘Lay on Hands’ power states that the paladin can target ‘one creature’. It’s assumed that this includes the paladin’s allies, but the rule doesn’t specifically say that the paladin can target himself with the power. Luckily for those heroic (and oft-squishy) paladins, the PHB defines the ‘creature’ target as an enemy, an ally, or the paladin himself.
Where to Find the Rule: ‘Targets’, Player’s Handbook p. 57.
Picture by Great Beyond
Rule #2: You can’t stand up by teleporting.
According to the Rules… This is true.
Why It’s Confusing: If you’re knocked prone, you can use a teleportation power to move yourself to a nearby square. When you arrive at the destination square, you’ll find that you’re still prone. Some argue that if you can warp space and time to create your own mini wormhole and come out the other end, you should also be able to arrive in an upright position. But according to the pros, standing up from prone takes a move action and can’t be accomplished with teleportation alone.
Where to Find the Rule: ‘Ask Wizards: 07/12/2008’, D&D Insider.
Rule #3: Sleep spells don’t work on oozes, constructs, or the undead.
According to the Rules… Sometimes they do!
Why It’s Confusing: In the past, sleep spells only worked on living creatures capable of sleeping. Golems, for example, couldn’t be affected by sleep spells because they were mindless creations that just didn’t sleep. 4E has changed that. Unless a monster’s stat block states that it has an immunity to sleep, it’s safe to assume that the monster can be affected by sleep spells – even if it’s a creature type that was immune in previous editions.
Where to Find the Rule: ‘D&D Q&A Archive’, D&D Insider.
Rule #4: PCs can be marked by multiple monsters.
According to the Rules… They cannot. (Phew!)
Why It’s Confusing: Like some PCs, some monsters have the ability to mark their opponents. Unlike the PC power blocks, which specify that the enemy can only be subject to one mark at a time, the monster stat blocks don’t always make this clear. But the mechanics are the same in each scenario: The target of a mark is only subject to the most recent mark placed upon them.
Where to Find the Rule: ‘Overlapping Durations’, Player’s Handbook p. 278.
Now, before you run off and tackle your DM in a righteous rules frenzy, let me make this perfectly clear: In any D&D game, the DM is the ultimate rules authority. But most DMs are willing to work with their players, so if you’ve found a mechanic that isn’t being played correctly, bring it up to them and provide a reference so they can read and interpret the rule for themselves.
Were you surprised by any of these rules? Do you disagree with some of them? Tell us all about it in the comments section!