D&D 101: Attack Rolls

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Last 101: Dice speak

Welcome to D&D 101, where we explain the basics for people who like the show but don’t play. If you have played before there’s probably no need to look at this. Really basic, basics.

Action happens often in D&D and often on the show. It is one part of the game which uses an element of chance, a roll of the dice.

To attack an enemy you make an attack roll which is always using the d20 (twenty sided dice, purple one in the picture.) The player simply rolls the dice and has to get equal or higher to a certain number. Success = a hit. The strength of the enemy is represented by its armor class. So the DM (dungeon master) will state the AC – “The hobgoblin has an AC of 14” – and the player rolls the d20 and tries to get 14 or above to hit.

The attack roll may be modified. A player with high strength may get a bonus such as +2, or a magic sword may give +1. This is declared before the attack roll.

“The orc has an AC of 15”
“I use my sword +3”
“13 plus 3 is 16”
“You hit”

Pro-tip: a natural roll of 1 always misses and results in a blunder. A natural 20 always hits.


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