D&D 5e: Often Missed Rules

Every now and then I come across a little nugget in the 5th edition Dungeons and Dragons rulebooks . They spark my interest because I’ve found severe complaints on blogs and internet forums about these things.

Here are a few rules that I find particularly interesting.

Stabilizing a Creature

PHB, pg 197

You can use your action to administer first aid to an unconscious creature and attempt to stabilize it, which requires a successful DC 10 Wisdom (Medicine) check.

While you can also use the weakest healing spell in the party’s repertoire, or administer a potion of healing, this is a far more practical, easy and cheap solution. DC 10 ain’t no thang.

People complained that the Monster Manual’s Challenge Ratings were useless because some creatures had Save or Die attacks. Well, considering that some monsters can kill a PC with a single, mundane physical attack, I don’t think that this is such a big issue considering how many ways you can stabilize a dying comrade.

Knocking a Creature Out

PHB, pg 198

When an attacker reduces a creature to 0 hit points with a melee attack, the attack can knock the creature out. The attacker can make this choice the instant the damage is dealt. The creature falls unconscious and is stable.

People complained that D&D always assumes fights to the death and that knocking out a foe is cumbersome and awkward. Not really. This is rather elegant AND it gives the players some agency. They get to decide for themselves, on a case-by-case basis, whether or not they are merciful (or not, if they plan on interrogating and torturing their captive).

Invulnerable ranged attackers

There are some complaints that because you can split up your move into parts, an archer could move out of full cover, take a shot, then move back into full cover again (Moving Between Actions, PHB, pg 190).

I find this complaint a bit ridiculous for a few reasons:

  • This sort of thing happens in gun fights in movies and television all the damn time. This isn’t some D&D quirk.
  • Area effect attacks will still harm these ducking snipers.
  • Enemies can do the same thing.

Not to mention that an enemy using the Ready action (Ready, PHB, pg 193) can shoot at the sniper as soon as they poke their head out.

This is a non-issue, really.


I hope that any of you readers find this useful. Sure, 5th ed D&D ain’t perfect, but some criticisms are factually false.