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The Dungeon Master's Guide, often shortened to DMG, is a book created by Wizards of the Coast to assist dungeon masters in running games.

Disclaimer: Wizards of the Coast does not officially endorse the following tactics, which are guaranteed to maximize your enjoyment as a Dungeon Master. First, always keep a straight face and say OK no matter how ludicrous or doomed the players’ plan of action is. Second, no matter what happens, pretend that you intended all along for everything to unfold the way it did. Third, if you’re not sure what to do next, feign illness, end the session early, and plot your next move. When all else fails, roll a bunch of dice behind your scree, study them for a moment with a look of deep concern mixed with regret, let loose a heavy sigh, and announce that Tiamat swoops from the sky and attacks.

Blurb

Everything a Dungeon Master needs to weave legendary stories for the world's greatest roleplaying game.

The Dungeon Master's Guide provides the inspiration and the guidance you need to spark your imagination and create worlds of adventure for your players to explore and enjoy.

Inside you'll find world-building tools, tips and tricks for creating memorable dungeons and adventures, optional game rules, hundreds of classic D&D magic items, and much more!

Table of Contents

  • Introduction
    • The Dungeon Master
    • How to Use This Book
    • Know Your Players
  • Part 1
    • Chapter 1: A World of Your Own
      • The Big Picture
      • Gods of Your World
      • Mapping Your Campaign
      • Settlements
      • Languages and Dialects
      • Factions and Organizations
      • Magic in Your World
      • Creating a Campaign
      • Campaign Events
      • Play Style
      • Tiers of Play
      • Flavors of Fantasy
    • Chapter 2: Creating a Multiverse
      • The Planes
      • Planar Travel
      • Astral Plane
      • Ethereal Plane
      • Feywild
      • Shadowfell
      • Inner Planes
      • Outer Planes
      • Other Planes
      • Known Worlds of the Material Plane
  • Part 2
    • Chapter 3: Creating Adventures
      • Elements of a Great Adventure
      • Published Adventures
      • Adventure Structure
      • Adventure Types
      • Complications
      • Creating Encounters
      • Random Encounters
    • Chapter 4: Creating Nonplayer Characters
      • Designing NPCs
      • NPC Party Members
      • Contacts
      • Hirelings
      • Extras
      • Villains
      • Villain Class Options
    • Chapter 5: Adventure Environments
      • Dungeons
      • Mapping a Dungeon
      • Wilderness
      • Mapping a Wilderness
      • Wilderness Survival
      • Settlements
      • Mapping a Settlement
      • Urban Encounters
      • Unusual Environments
      • Traps
    • Chapter 6: Between Adventures
      • Linking Adventures
      • Campaign Tracking
      • Recurring Expenses
      • Downtime Activities
    • Chapter 7: Treasure
      • Types of Treasure
      • Random Treasure
      • Magic Items
      • Sentient Magic Items
      • Artifacts
      • Other Rewards
  • Part 3
    • Chapter 8: Running the Game
    • Chapter 9: Dungeon Master's Workshop
      • Ability Options
      • Adventuring Options
      • Combat Options
      • Creating a Monster
      • Creating a Spell
      • Creating a Magic Item
      • Creating New Character Options
  • Appendix A: Random Dungeons
    • Starting Area
    • Passages
    • Doors
    • Chambers
    • Stairs
    • Connecting Areas
    • Stocking a Dungeon
  • Appendix B: Monster Lists
  • Appendix C: Maps
  • Appendix D: Dungeon Master Inspiration
  • Index

Errata

The errata corrects and clarifies text. The changes appear in the next printings of the book.

Chapter 1

  • The Calendar of Harptos: Shieldmeet takes place after Midsummer, not Midwinter.

Chapter 3

  • Evaluating Encounter Difficulty: In the "Compare XP" step, the second sentence has been replaced with the following: "The threshold that equals the adjusted XP value determines the encounter's difficulty. If there's no match, use the closest threshold that is lower than the adjusted XP value."

Chapter 6

  • Crafting a Magic Item: The first sentence under the Crafting Magic Items table now reads, "An item has a creation cost specified in the Crafting Magic Items table (half that cost for a consumable, such as a potion or scroll)."

Chapter 7

  • Attunement: The first paragraph ends with a new sentence: "If the prerequisite is to be a spellcaster, a creature qualifies if it can cast at least one spell using its traits or features, not using a magic item or the like."
  • Treasure Hoard: Challenge 11-16: In the table, "11- 12" is now "10-12".
  • Magic Weapons: The section ends with a new paragraph: "If a magic weapon has the ammunition property, ammunition fired from it is considered magical for the purpose of overcoming resistance and immunity to nonmagical attacks and damage."
  • Amulet of Health: The last sentence now reads as follows: "It has no effect on you if your Constitution is 19 or higher without it."
  • Bag of Tricks: The second paragraph ends with a new sentence: "The creature vanishes at the next dawn or when it is reduced to 0 hit points."
  • Belt of Giant Strength: The last sentence of the first paragraph now reads as follows: :The item has no effect on you if your Strength without the belt is equal to or greater than the belt's score.:
  • Gauntlets of Ogre Power: The last sentence now reads as follows: "They have no effect on you if your Strength is 19 or higher without them."
  • Headband of Intellect: The last sentence now reads as follows: "It has no effect on you if your Intelligence is 19 or higher without it."
  • Pearl of Power: The first sentence is now two sentences: "While this pearl is on your person, you can use an action to speak its command word and regain one expended spell slot. If the expended slot was of 4th level or higher, the new slot is 3rd level."
  • Spell Scroll: Starting with its second sentence, the first paragraph now reads as follows: "If the spell is on your class's spell list, you can read the scroll and cast its spell without providing any material components. Otherwise, the scroll is unintelligible. Casting the spell by reading the scroll requires the spell's normal casting time. Once the spell is cast, the words on the scroll fade, and it crumbles to dust. If the casting is interrupted, the scroll is not lost."
  • Wand of Paralysis: The third and fourth sentences now read as follows: "The target must succeed on a DC 15 Constitution saving throw or be paralyzed for 1 minute."

Chapter 8

  • Combining Game Effects: This is a new subsection at the end of the "Combat" section: "Different game features can affect a target at the same time. But when two or more game features have the same name, only the effects of one of them—the most potent one—apply while the durations of the effects overlap. For example, if a target is ignited by a fire elemental's Fire Form trait, the ongoing fire damage doesn't increase if the burning target is subjected to that trait again. Game features include spells, class features, feats, racial traits, monster abilities, and magic items. See the related rule in the "Combining Magical Effects" section of chapter 10 in the Player's Handbook."
  • Poison: The description of ingested poison has a new sentence after the first: "The dose can be delivered in food or a liquid." The other three poison types have new descriptions:
    • Contact: Contact poison can be smeared on an object and remains potent until it is touched or washed off. A creature that touches contact poison with exposed skin suffers its effects.
    • Inhaled: These poisons are powders or gases that take effect when inhaled. Blowing the powder or releasing the gas subjects creatures in a 5-foot cube to its effect. The resulting cloud dissipates immediately afterward. Holding one's breath is ineffective against inhaled poisons, as they affect nasal membranes, tear ducts, and other parts of the body.
    • Injury: Injury poison can be applied to weapons, ammunition, trap components, and other objects that deal piercing or slashing damage and remains potent until delivered through a wound or washed off. A creature that takes piercing or slashing damage from an object coated with the poison is exposed to its effects.
  • Monster Features: In the table, "Dive Attack" is now "Dive," and in the Damage Transfer example, "darkmantle" is now "cloaker".

Appendix A

  • Mage Furnishings: A roll of 73 produces a sextant, not a sexton.
  • Utensils and Personal Items: A roll of 89 or 90 produces a vase.

Appendix B

In the "Monsters by Environment" section, the following experience point corrections have been made:

Monster XP
Ancient Black Dragon 33,000 (was 27,500)
Ancient Blue Dragon 50,000 (was 32,500)
Ancient Brass Dragon 25,000 (was 24,500)
Ancient Bronze Dragon 41,000 (was 30,000)
Ancient Copper Dragon 33,000 (was 27,500)
Ancient Gold Dragon 62,000 (was 36,500)
Ancient Green Dragon 41,000 (was 30,000)
Ancient Red Dragon 62,000 (was 36,500)
Ancient Silver Dragon 50,000 (was 32,500)
Ancient White Dragon 25,000 (was 24,500)