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Rules Answers July 2016 – Jeremy Crawford

There is a new article on D&D Wizard’s of the Coast website by Jeremy Crawford. He has complied a listing of Twitter questions and his answers. As always, these are his rulings, and the DM at your table can play the game and have different rulings than these. Let’s emphasize that, Jeremy’s rulings do not override the decisions of the Dungeon Master. As he says in the article these are to assist the DM in adjudicating the game. This is not a tool for a player to argue with a DM’s decision. They could be a conversation starter for a player to discuss though.

These rulings aren’t a great surprise, and they are asked on a regular basis by new players.  But there were a few that I hadn’t thought about, Disintegrate and attacking with a Net. I haven’t had any players using a net, so throwing a net is always at disadvantage – Interesting. Those two rulings make sense, but they aren’t going to come up very often.

Along with these new rulings, that means the Sage Advice compendium has been updated and you can download it here: SA-Compendium

Sage Advice: Rules Answers: July 2016

Class Features

For the barbarian’s Reckless Attack, do you grant advantage to all enemies, or only to the target of your attack? If you use the barbarian’s Reckless Attack, all attack rolls have advantage against you until the start of your next turn.

When a cleric uses the Destructive Wrath feature, does it maximize all damage getting rolled, as long as some of it is lightning or thunder? Destructive Wrath is meant to maximize lightning and thunder damage only.

Can a fighter have two fighting styles active at once? Dueling and Defense, for example. You can benefit from more than one Fighting Style option at a time, as long as they aren’t mutually exclusive, as Dueling and Great Weapon Fighting are.

For a Way of the Shadow monk, can their silence be dispelled? A spell is a spell, no matter its source. When you cast a spell through a feature, the spell is subject to the normal spellcasting rules, unless the feature says otherwise.

Can the monk’s Open Hand Technique push a Large or larger creature or knock it prone? The Open Hand Technique intentionally ignores creature size. A monk’s ki fuels many extraordinary effects! If a feature is limited by creature size, the feature tells you so.

Would a Paladin’s Divine Sense register a tiefling due to their infernal heritage? A tiefling is a humanoid, not a fiend, and therefore escapes the notice of Divine Sense. The feature detects creatures that have the celestial, fiend, or undead creature type.

For triggering the rogue’s Assassinate ability, when does a creature stop being surprised? After their turn in the round, or at the end of the round? The intent is that a surprised creature stops being surprised at the end of it’s first turn in combat.

If a sorcerer casts a spell with only verbal or somatic components using Subtle Spell, can an opponent use counterspell against it? Subtle Spell protects a spell without material components from counterspell, since you can’t see the casting.


Does heavy armor reduce Dexterity saving throws or ability checks other than Stealth? If you have proficiency with it, heavy armor doesn’t affect Dexterity saving throws or ability checks, other than Stealth.


Would a temporary stat bump fulfill a multiclass prerequisite, or does the base score have to meet the requirement? The intent is that your base score, not a temporary score, has to meet a multiclassing prerequisite.

Can a barbarian/cleric use spiritual weapon to attack while raging, if it is cast before entering Rage? A barbarian’s Rage makes concentration impossible but has no effect on spells, like spiritual weapon, that don’t require concentration.

Can a barbarian/fighter (Battle Master) use maneuvers while raging? Nothing in the barbarian’s Rage feature precludes the use of maneuvers.


Is Elemental Adept the only feat you can take more than once? Elemental Adept is the only feat in the Player’s Handbook that you can take more than once.

Class features and feats sometimes affect a shapechanged druid. Does the Tough feat have an effect while shifting? The intent is no. The Tough feat affects a druid’s hit points, which are replaced by the beast’s hit points while using Wild Shape.

Ability Checks

Can you get a critical on an ability check? For example, on a grapple attempt, does a critical win, or the highest number? Ability checks don’t score critical hits. Attack rolls do.

Is a 1 on an ability check an automatic failure? Rolling a 1 on an ability check or a saving throw is not an automatic failure. A 1 is an automatic miss for an attack.


Is there an intended way to get lost Intelligence back, such as after an intellect devourer zeroes it? The greater restoration spell can remove the reduction to an ability score.


Does a grapple or a shove trigger the Tempest cleric’s Wrath of the Storm or a Battle Master’s Riposte? The answer to both questions is no. The grappling and shoving options (PH, 195) don’t result in a hit or a miss.

I have a readied action. Can I stop readying to take an opportunity attack? Or is ready a full turn commitment? If you have an action readied, you can make an opportunity attack, which causes you to stop readying.

If a wizard casts a spell like fireball during a surprise round, do the enemies get disadvantage on their saving throw? Being surprised has no effect on saves. If you’re surprised, you can’t move or take an action on your first turn of the combat and you can’t take a reaction until that turn ends (PH, 189).

Are attacks with a net always made with disadvantage? Unless you have a special ability that says otherwise, any net attack has disadvantage because you’re either within 5 feet of your target (see PH, 149) or you’re attacking at long range, which is between 5 and 15 feet for a net.


Can a spellcaster cast spells off-target to minimize damage to party members from a spell like shatter? The spellcaster chooses where to place the point of origin of a spell like shatter and may, therefore, choose a position that is advantageous to allies.

Is a touch range spell considered a melee attack for purposes of subduing foes rather than killing? Having a range of touch doesn’t mean a spell is a melee attack. A spell tells you if it delivers such an attack.

Does casting a spell as a ritual require concentration if the spell doesn’t normally require it? Concentration is required when casting any spell, including a ritual version, for longer than 1 action (see PH, 202). Once the casting is complete, the spell requires concentration only if its duration entry says it does.

Can permanent magical effects be dispelled? Or are they no longer considered magical effects once permanent? If the effect of a spell becomes permanent, it can be dispelled, unless its description says otherwise.

Do spellcasters have to learn a ritual version of a spell apart from the normal version, or are they the same? To cast the ritual version of a spell you know, you need a feature, such as Ritual Casting, that gives you the ability to cast the spell as a ritual. You don’t need to also learn a special version of the spell.

Specific Spells

If the damage from disintegrate reduces a half-orc to 0 hit points, can Relentless Endurance prevent the orc from turning to ash? If disintegrate reduces you to 0 hit points, you’re killed outright, as you turn to dust. If you’re a half-orc, Relentless Endurance can’t save you.

What happens if a druid using Wild Shape is reduced to 0 hit points by disintegrate? Does the druid simply leave beast form? The druid turns to dust, since the spell disintegrates you the instant you drop to 0 hit points.

Does the heroes’ feast spell grant immunity to poison damage or just the poison condition? The heroes’ feast spell grants immunity to poison in any form—damage and the condition.

Could minor illusion create a fog cloud? If so, would shooting an arrow through it cancel the illusion? An illusory object made by minor illusion is meant to be like a stool or a rock, not an atmospheric effect.

Sage Advice Compendium

This month’s questions and answers are now part of the SA-Compendium (version 1.12)

Other Resources

Here are other D&D reference documents we’ve posted on this website.

Basic Rules for Dungeons & Dragons

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)

Character Sheets

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).