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Latest D&D Sage Compendium Update Clarifies Dragonborn, Half-Orc Rules and More

February 1, 2019 | Posted by Jeremy Thomas
Dungeons & Dragons D&D

D&D is, like any role-playing game, a system with a lot of rules that aren’t always as clear as intended. Most groups can resolve confusions that come up with table rulings. For those that want something more official though, there is always the Sage Compendium. Wizards of the Coast’s regular Q&A feature provides clarifications and updates to rules and combinations of abilities that perhaps may seem to conflict with each other or provide odd situations.

The latest edition of the Sage Compendium is out, and lead rules designer Jeremy Crawford has answered some long-standing questions about such varied topics as Dragonborn sorcerers, a Fighter’s Action Surge ability and, of particular note, the half-orc ability “Relentless Endurance” which rules that upon reaching zero Hit Points, a half-orc is instead left with one (and thus not knocked into Death Saves). You can see the full list of clarifications in the PDF at the link, with some of the highlights below:

* Dragonborn sorcerers with the Draconic Bloodline background: “A dragonborn sorcerer can choose a different ancestor for the racial trait and for the Dragon Ancestor feature. Your choice for the racial trait is your actual ancestor, while the choice for the class feature could be your ancestor figuratively—the type of dragon that bestowed magic upon you or your family or the kind of draconic artifact or location that filled you with magical energy.”

* Can Fighters use Action Surge for an extra bonus action: “Action Surge gives you an extra action, not an extra bonus action. (Recent printings of the Player’s Handbook no longer include the wording that provoked this question.)”

* Does disintegrate bypass a half-orc’s Relentless Endurance: “The disintegrate spell turns you into dust only if the spell’s damage leaves you with 0 hit points. If you’re a half-orc, Relentless Endurance can turn the 0 into a 1 before the spell can disintegrate you.”

* How a Druid’s beast shape interacts with disintegrate: “The druid leaves beast form. As usual, any leftover damage then applies to the druid’s normal hit points. If the leftover damage leaves the druid with 0 hit points, the druid is disintegrated.”

* Does Magic Resistance provide saving throw advantage against a cleric’s Channel Divinity features: “Channel Divinity creates magical effects (as stated in both the cleric and the paladin). Magic Resistance applies.”

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Dungeons & Dragons, Jeremy Thomas