The world of Dungeons & Dragons is defined by some poorly thought out rules. One example of this involves falling, as there is a limit to how much damage you can take from a drop. There is no difference between the damage taken from falling from a skyscraper or from orbit (which are both 20d6) and both of them are survivable to a high-level character.
Dungeons & Dragons has a lot of smart and dedicated players who have devoted their lives to destroying the game. They do this by exploiting the rules as they are written, which can lead to the total abandonment of reason and common sense.
We are here today to reveal the ways in which you exploit and break the rules in the various editions of Dungeons & Dragons— from the friendly spell that can be turned into a nuke, to recreating The Walking Dead with a single feat.
Here are the 15 Most Insane Ways To Break Dungeons & Dragons!
15. The Wizard Mini-Nuke
The Locate City exploit proves that Dungeons & Dragons players can turn even the most benign magic spell into a weapon of mass destruction.
Locate City is a level 1 spell that is available to most character classes. It allows you to detect the nearest settlement of living beings, which you are able to change the parameters of so that you can determine the differences between towns, villages, and cities.
Due to the wording of Locate City, it is possible to use metamagic feats to add energy descriptors to this spell. This means that you can increase Locate City’s spell level and make it cause damage. You can add cold (with the Snowcasting feat), thunder (with the Born From Three Thunders feat), and any other type of damage using the Energy Admixture feat.
With enough metamagic feats applied to Locate City, you can abuse its wide range of effect in order to make an attack spell that deals damage over a ten-mile radius. Just make sure you aren’t in the area when you cast it.
14. The Reduced Boulder Barrage
Mages had a hard time in the 2nd edition of Dungeons & Dragons. They barely had any hitpoints, couldn’t wear armor, and could only cast a handful of spells each day. Mages had to rely on the other party members to support them through the first few levels until they could finally hold their own.
It didn’t take long for mages to become powerful, however, thanks to the Enlarge/Reduce trick. There is a spell in the game called Enlarge which increases the size of a creature or an object by 10% per mage level. This spell can also be reversed so that it turns into Reduce and makes things smaller. The spell is broken when the creature or object takes damage.
By using the reduce spell on large stones or boulders, its possible to make them small enough to throw with a sling or like a shot put. As soon as it hits the enemy, it will revert back to its original size. This allows you to effectively throw stones like a giant at low levels.
13. The Mighty Bluffing Bards
There are some people who enjoy acting out every conversation in Dungeons & Dragons while remaining in character. There are also people who prefer to turn all conversations into opposing dice rolls.
For those in the latter category, there is a way to convince everyone in the world to do your bidding with the use of a single spell. Anyone who can get a Bard to 7th level in the 3.5 edition of Dungeons & Dragons can take a class-exclusive spell called Glibness. This spell gives you +30 on all checks relating to the Bluff skill and it lasts for over an hour.
By casting Glibness, you can make anyone believe any lie you tell, so long as you break it down into a single dice roll. Your character will essentially turn into Ricky Gervais’ character from The Invention of Lying, as even the most outrageous lie will be believed with a +30 bonus. The only way you will be found out is if you roll a one on a twenty sided-dice.
12. The Candle Of Infinite Wishes
The most powerful spell in Dungeons & Dragons is Wish. It is essentially the same as asking a genie for a wish, though it has a few limitations on the effects it can create. The Dungeon Master is encouraged to screw with any player who tries to use a Wish spell by turning the exact wording of the Wish against them.
There is an item in Dungeons & Dragons called a Candle of Invocation. It allows you to summon a powerful creature from another dimension as if they used the high-level Gate spell. Candles of Invocation are difficult to make but surprisingly cheap to buy for most parties who are willing to pool their cash together.
It is possible to use a Candle of Invocation to summon an Efreeti. If you can charm or control the Efreeti, then you can ask it to grant you three wishes. You can use one of these to ask for another Candle of Invocation or a Ring of Three Wishes and keep abusing the cycle of requests/wishes.
11. Rat Attack
The secret to becoming the greatest fighter in the world in the 3rd edition of Dungeons & Dragons is with the help of a bag of vermin.
In order to use this exploit, your character needs to pick the Great Cleave and Whirlwind Attack feats. Great Cleave gives you a free attack on an opponent if you kill another enemy during the same turn, while Whirlwind Attack gives you a free attack on every unit with melee range.
When fighting a tough opponent, all you need to do is dump a bag of rats on the ground and use Whirlwind Attack. Chances are, you will kill every rat in one hit and can use each of the Great Cleaves to get multiple free attacks on the opponent you are actually fighting.
10. The Dart Destroyer
What comes to mind when you think of the most powerful weapons in fantasy literature? There are certainly lots of swords that fit the bill– like Excalibur or Stormbringer– while there are also many powerful lances, spears, axes, bows, and wands.
In the 2nd edition of Dungeons & Dragons, the most powerful weapon available to players was actually darts. Darts only do 1d3 damage, but you get to add your Strength modifier to the damage as they are a thrown weapon. You can also throw three darts in a single round. If you play a fighter and specialize in darts, then this eventually increases to six per round.
The reason darts are so powerful is due to the ability to buff the damage dealt by the fighter with his specializations and magic. If the fighter can also find magical darts and use the Haste spell to increase his speed, then his damage output per round will be far higher than if he used a sword or a bow.
9. Polymorph Everything
The idea of changing your form with magic has appeared in many classic fairy tales and fantasy stories. The ability to become something else might one of the most desired abilities possessed by a wizard.
In Dungeons & Dragons, you can transform using the Polymorph spell. Polymorph might be one of the most notorious troublemakers in the entire series. The spell has received more errata and retcons than anything else in the game.
Depending on the edition of the game, Polymorph can be the most versatile and powerful spell available to you. Where it really shines is in its ability to transform others. If you specialize your character in the transmutation school of magic and boost the saving throw needed to pass your spell, then you basically become invincible. You can turn your most hated enemy into a fish and watch them drown on dry land, or transform yourself into a dragon and lay waste to your foes.
8. The Curse Of Sneezing
The worlds of Dungeons & Dragons are home to a lot of cursed magical items. These are pieces of treasure that look like regular magical items, yet they have a detrimental effect on the player.
One of the best items in the entire game is actually a cursed bag of powder. The Dust of Sneezing and Choking is meant to look like a different item called Dust of Appearance, which reveals invisible foes. Instead, the cursed dust forces everyone in a twenty-foot radius to choke.
The reason Dust of Sneezing and Choking is so powerful is because it stuns anyone caught in its effect for 5d4 rounds, without any sort of saving throw. This means that you can disable any foe for an average of ten rounds without them being able to protect themselves from the dust’s effect. The only foes that are immune to this tactic are creatures that don’t need to breathe, like the undead.
7. The Paper Bomb
Explosive Runes is a spell that has appeared throughout the various editions of Dungeons & Dragons. It allows you to create a magical set of writing on a surface that will explode when read.
The version of Explosive Runes that appears in the 3.5 edition of Dungeons & Dragons is the most interesting of them all, as it can be turned into an incredibly powerful bomb. It doesn’t say anywhere in the spell description that you cannot cast Explosive Runes multiple times within the same book. The problem is that only one would be activated each time it was read.
The way you get around this is by failing a Dispel Magic check against the book. The rules for Explosive Runes state that a failed dispel check made by another caster will activate the spell. All you need to do is fill a one-hundred-page book with Explosive Runes, throw it at the enemy and have a friendly caster fail their dispel check on purpose. Say hello to 600d6 damage.
6. The Arrowhead Of Death
One of the most valuable items a character can find in Dungeons & Dragons is a Bag of Holding. This is a bag that has extra-dimensional space inside, which is a lot bigger than it appears from the outside.
A Bag of Holding allows you to carry a lot more stuff than you would normally be able to lift, which is also handy in allowing you to ignore the rules of encumbrance that everyone hates.
There is a similar item to the Bag of Holding called the Portable Hole. If you place the bag inside the hole, then it will cause a portal to the Astral Plane to open in a ten-foot radius, which is described as instantly destroying everything within its range.
Players have designed an arrowhead that can carry both a Bag of Holding and a Portable Hole, which shoves them together when they strike a foe. It’s an expensive attack, but this arrowhead can destroy any creature in the game.
5. The Salt Must Flow
One of the most common forms of treasure you will find in a Dungeons & Dragons campaign are coins made from different kinds of precious metal. A dragon’s hoard will be filled thousands of coins made from copper, silver, gold, electrum, and platinum.
The coins you find in Dungeons & Dragons are worth a lot less than similar amounts of precious metal in real life. This is because there is a lot more of it, which makes it less valuable. Do you know what else is worth a lot of money in a Dungeons & Dragons world? Salt. A pound of salt is worth as much as a pound of silver, which is around five gold pieces.
There was a Dungeons & Dragons book called Sandstorm, which gave rules for desert scenarios. This book included a spell called Wall of Salt, which allowed you to create a thirty-five-foot wall made of salt which doesn’t disappear. A seventh level spellcaster can cast this twice a day. Congratulations– you can now start your Dune-style salt empire and become rich beyond your wildest dreams.
4. The Tomb Of Rocky Horror
We haven’t talked much about the first edition of Dungeons & Dragons and that’s because it’s too easy a target. The game was still finding its feet at that point and the rules lawyers of the world had yet to pick every sentence apart in search of exploits.
One of the most notorious adventures created for the original edition of Dungeons & Dragons was called the Tomb of Horrors. It’s notorious because of how utterly ruthless it is in terms of challenge. You best be prepared to bring a lot of blank character sheets to the game.
There is a location in the Tomb of Horror called the Chapel of Evil. This area has a glowing orange doorway, which switches the alignment and gender of a character who walks through it. A lawful good woman will turn into a chaotic evil man if they pass through this entrance.
This shift also has the added bonus of making you totally immune to all magic spells, save for Wish and Alter Reality. The wording of the rules specifically states that no other spell will affect them.
3. The God Kobold
All it takes is one shoddy rulebook to completely derail an edition of Dungeons & Dragons. This was the case with Serpent Kingdoms, which was a book about the various locations in the Forgotten Realms that are controlled by sentient lizards.
Serpent Kingdoms is partly responsible for the creation of a character build known as “Pun-Pun.” This is a Kobold character who can use the Manipulate Form ability to emulate any power in the game. It’s possible for Pun-Pun to mimic things like a petrifying stare, an antimagic cone, or the Mind Flayer’s mind blase attack, all at very low levels.
The creation and use of a character like Pun-Pun require a DM who is very open-minded and is not afraid to allow a little meta-gaming. The vast majority of DMs will punch you in the face if you try and introduce such a broken character into their campaign, so be warned.
2. Turning Ladders Into Gold
It’s lucky that the Internet doesn’t exist in most Dungeons & Dragons campaigns unless the people in Eberron got really creative all of a sudden. If the Internet did exist in Faerun, Krynn, or Oerth, then it would be full of banner ads on how to quit your job by using a trick that the ladder companies don’t want you to know about.
This exploit exists due to a simple error of reason in the Player’s Handbook in the 3rd and 3.5 editions of Dungeons & Dragons. The equipment chapter has a section dedicated to items that the player might want to take with them on adventures, such as lanterns, ropes, and a tent.
The Player’s Handbook lists a ten-foot ladder as costing five copper pieces and a ten-foot pole as costing two silver pieces.
If you want to become really rich in Dungeons & Dragons, then go to a huge city like Baldur’s Gate or Greyhawk and buy all the ladders. Chop them in two and remove the rungs. A single five copper piece ladder can be worth four silver pieces, which is the equivalent of forty copper pieces. Do this with every ladder in the city and watch the profits roll in!
1. The Wight Apocalypse
The story of a Dungeons & Dragons campaign is usually about the battle between the forces of good and evil. You have holy knights and powerful wizards battling against hordes of monsters led by colossal dragons. The various settings of the Dungeons & Dragons campaigns tend to include powerful necromancers who use their magic to create undead monsters from the corpses of the living.
It’s actually really easy for a single necromancer to destroy the world in Dungeons & Dragons. All they need to do is reach level five and take the Fell Drain feat.
In Dungeons & Dragons, some undead creatures possess the ability to drain the vitality of living beings. This is known as granting negative levels. If a humanoid dies from having their levels drained, then they turn into a wight, which is a powerful undead monster that acts as a challenge for a level three party.
If a spellcaster takes the Fell Drain feat, they can add negative energy to their spells. It’s possible to go around killing commoners and turning them into wights using their spells. If a wight kills someone using its energy drain attack, then that person turns into a wight only 1d4 rounds later…
Can you think of any other ways to break Dungeons & Dragons? Let us know in the comment section!
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