Dungeons\nand Dragons Fifth Edition is a complex role-playing game that\noperates with an intricate set of rules set inside an elaborate\nalternate reality. For many, it takes multiple rounds of the game to\nfully grasp the rules and commit all the spells, monsters, and\nclasses to memory.\n\n\n\nIs\nan attack an ability check too? An attack is not the same as a\ncheck. In the rule book, these are often linked together as they are\nsimilar in the way roles, bonuses, and advantages\/disadvantages are\nhandled. The differences between the ability check and attack rolls\nare clearly outlined in Chapter 7 of the Players\nHandbook.\n\n\n\nIt\nis quite easy to mistake the attack roll, ability check, and saving\nthrow for three faces of the same thing because they all require you\nto roll a d20. They are all also subject to advantage and\ndisadvantage, modifiers, and have similar difficulty class. However,\nthey are not in the same category of moves, rather they just share a\nsimilar procedure for determining success or failure. \n\n\n\n\nBasic Game Moves\n\n\n\nThree\nbasic game moves that are at the heart of the rules of Dungeons and\nDragons include: \n\n\n\n\n\n\tThe attack roll\n\t\n\tThe\n\tability check\n\t\n\tThe\n\tsaving throw\n\n\n\n\nThese\nmoves differ greatly in the time and place they can be utilized but\nalso contrast in the way they impact the game. This article will\nbreak down each of these moves and cover how they differ when to\nproperly use them, and the rules that surround each move. \n\n\n\n\nGroup\nchecks may come into play when the game master wants a number of\nindividual players to accomplish or overcome a milestone as a group.\nWhen this situation arises, it is critical that those players who are\nskilled in the skills needed for the check help cover those who are\nnot skilled in the required abilities needed to overcome the check. \n\n\n\n\nThe Attack Roll \n\n\n\n\nThe\nattack roll move is one that is usually only used in a combat setting\nand has the narrowest use. This move is used when you are attempting\nto strike your opponent. This move works by the player rolling the\nd20 and adding their attack bonus. This determines your success or\nfailure in this combat.\n\n\n\nWhen\nrolling the d20, there is a certain number of rolls that\nautomatically determine your fate without any future moves. During\nthis process, if you roll a 1 this is an automatic miss. If you roll\na 20, this is an automatic hit and can possibly be a critical hit. \n\n\n\n\nThe Ability Check \n\n\n\n\nThe\nability check is a very common move and pops up often throughout the\ngame. This roll can be used in a variety of situations throughout\nyour roleplaying, including:\n\n\n\n\n\tIn\n\tcombat\n\t\n\tDuring\n\tsocial interactions with other players\n\t\n\tWhile\n\tyour character is exploring \n\t\n\n\n\n\nFor\nnewer players, the easiest way to identify if you are using an\nability check is if the rules say that you are making a check using\none of the six ability scores. This can often confuse players if you\nare not using one a skill in the ability check; however, regardless\nof if a skill is being used, the move will still count as an ability\ncheck. \n\n\n\n\nIn\naddition to the variety of circumstances, you can utilize the ability\ncheck, there is an assortment of ability check types that can be put\ninto play. Examples of some different ability checks that can be used\nduring the game include:\n\n\n\n\n\tA\n\tstrength check\n\t\n\tA\n\tdexterity check \n\t\n\t\n\tA\n\tcharisma (persuasion) check \n\t\n\t\n\tA\n\twisdom (perception) check\n\n\n\n\nEach\nof these checks breaks down further into subcategories\u2014it is\nimportant to be familiar with these categories to best be able to\njudge which check to use and when. These subcategories describe the\nmore specific situation in which you should utilize each check. \n\n\n\n\nFor\nexample, when testing the ability of animal handling, the check you\nwould put into play would be the wisdom (sometimes called the\nperception) check, other specifics for each category are as follows:\n\n\n\n\n\t\t\tStrength \n\t\t\t\n\t\t\n\t\t\tDexterity \n\t\t\t\n\t\t\n\t\t\tIntelligence \n\t\t\t\n\t\t\n\t\t\tWisdom \n\t\t\t\n\t\t\n\t\t\tCharisma \n\t\t\t\n\t\t\n\t\t\tAthletics \n\t\t\t\n\t\tAcrobatics Sleight of hand Stealth Arcana History Investigation Nature Religion Animal handling Insight Medicine Perception Survival Deception Intimidation Performance Persuasion \n\n\n\nThe\npurpose of these checks is to test the ability, talent, or training\nof another creature with the intention to then overcome a challenge\nor beat them in a duel. For each ability check, it is up to the game\nmaster to decide which of the six abilities are pertinent to the task\nand the difficulty. Difficulty classes are defined as follows:\n\n\n\n\n\t\t\tTask Difficulty \n\t\t\t\n\t\t\n\t\t\tDifficulty Class\n\t\t\n\t\t\tVery easy \n\t\t\t\n\t\t\n\t\t\t5\n\t\t\n\t\t\tEasy \n\t\t\t\n\t\t\n\t\t\t10\n\t\t\n\t\t\tMedium \n\t\t\t\n\t\t\n\t\t\t15\n\t\t\n\t\t\tHard \n\t\t\t\n\t\t\n\t\t\t20\n\t\t\n\t\t\tVery hard\n\t\t\n\t\t\t25\n\t\t\n\t\t\tNearly impossible \n\t\t\t\n\t\t\n\t\t\t30\n\t\t\n\n\n\nThe\nability check is determined by rolling the d20 and adding relevant\nmodifiers, bonuses, penalties and comparing the number outcome to the\ndifficulty class. The total needs to equal or exceed the difficulty\nclass number for the check to be successful.\n\n\n\nThe Saving Throws\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\nThis\nmove is also commonly called a save and allows you to resist a move\nthat may harm your character. If another character or creature sets a\npotentially harmful move in place, be sure to use your saving throw\nto reduce or eliminate the threat. Common threats that can be avoided\nwith your saving throw include:\n\n\n\n\n\tA\n\tspell\n\t\n\tA\n\ttrap \n\t\n\t\n\tPoison\n\t\n\t\n\t\n\tDisease\n\t\n\t\n\n\n\n\nAmong\nother similar threats that can be posed to your character! This move\nrequires you to roll the d20 and add the ability modifier appropriate\nfor the move\u2014for example using the dexterity modifier for a\ndexterity saving throw. \n\n\n\n\nUsually,\nthe outcome of a successful saving throw is a lack or harm (or a\nreduced amount of harm) to a creature from the effect that was\ninflicting the harm. The difficulty of the saving throw is determined\nvery differently than the ability check. The difficulty here is based\nsolely off of the effect that causes the need for the saving throw. \n\n\n\n\nFor\nexample, the difficulty of a saving throw as it relates to a spell\nwill be highly dependent on the characters ability to spell cast.\nTheir proficiency will be tested by this saving throw and will\ndetermine difficulty as well as success. \n\n\n\n\nThe\nbasic three types of saving throws include:\n\n\n\n\n\tFortitude\u2014this\n\tparticular save will measure the players ability to stand up to\n\tphysical attacks. The best modifier to apply to this saving throw is\n\tyour constitution modifier.\n\t\n\tReflex\u2014this\n\tsave will measure the player\u2019s\n\tability to dodge area attacks. The best modifier to apply to this\n\tsaving throw is your dexterity modifier.\n\t\n\tWill\u2014this\n\tsave\n\twill measure the player\u2019s\n\tability to resist mental influence (including magical effects). The\n\tbest modifier to apply to this saving throw is your wisdom modifier.\n\n\n\n\n\nSimilarly to the attack roll, when rolling the d20 to determine your\nsaving throw, there are automatic fails and successes determined by\nthe number you roll. Rolling a 1 will again result in automatic\nfailure while a 20 results in an automatic success in your saving\nthrow. \n\n\n\n\nTakeaway Points\n\n\n\nWhen\nplaying the fifth edition of Dungeons and Dragons, it is critical\nthat players can identify not only the differences between an ability\ncheck, attack roll, and saving throw but also know the intricate\ndetails that accompany each move.\n\n\n\nEach\nof the three moves listed above is utilized in different scenarios\nand are supplemented by a differing set of rules and situational\nusage. Before you begin using these moves in your game, become very\nfamiliar with how and when to use them for the most success in your\ngame!