10 Stupid Rules in Dungeons & Dragons Fifth Edition (That Make Zero Sense)

I love D&D. Duh. And I love Fifth Edition, too! But there are just a few rules that really irk the hell out of me. I understand that most of the time it’s for balance or for mechanics, but still.

Here they are in no particular order:

#1 – Medicine uses Wisdom modifiers for ability checks.

Medicine is based on Wisdom instead of Intelligence? Well, that’s dumb. Okay, it’s pretty obvious why. Only Clerics are going to use Medicine, and they’re MAD enough as it is. Making them have to be good at Intelligence, too, would be pushing it. Doesn’t make it any less dumb, though.

#2 – Everyone in the world can hold their breath for at least 30 seconds.

According to page 183 of the Player’s Handbook, a creature can hold its breath for a number of minutes equal to 1 + its Constitution modifier (minimum 30 seconds). This also means that a commoner–you, me, and everyone you know, probably–can hold their breath for one minute. Go ahead. Try it. Hold your breath for 1 minute. I can’t do it. I’ll probably pass out after 10 seconds. Dumb.

#3 – A commoner can deadlift 300 lbs.

A creature can push, drag, or lift a weight in pounds up to 30 times its Strength score. So that means that someone with a 10 Strength can lift 300 lbs off the ground (PHB, p176). Uh, I’m not trying to say I’m the strongest person that ever lived, but I’m pretty damn sure that if I tried to lift even 200 lbs I’d throw my back out, pass out, and piss myself. Of course, Strength and carrying capacity in Fifth Edition is all sorts of whack. Which leads me to my next point…

#4 – A tarrasque can only carry 450 lbs.

So, let me get this straight. According to 176 of the PHB (the same rule I mentioned in #3), a tarrasque can’t even lift 1/4 of a ton? Now, I’ve brought this issue up before on Facebook and folks explained to me that there’s some sort of law in physics that prevents large things from carrying heavy stuff (that’s why whales can only ever live in the ocean). But still–this is a fucking fantasy dinosaur-monster-thing! It can’t even deadlift as much weight as the world’s strongest man, Thor “The Mountain” Bjornnson. Edit: I forgot that gargantuan creatures can carry more  but it’s still only 3,600 lbs. Lame!

#5 – Everything is slow as shit.

Math time. According to the Googles, a human can walk 3.1 miles per hour. A mile is 5,280 feet. So a human can walk 16,368 feet in an hour. Combat rounds in D&D are in 6-second increments, giving us 10 rounds in a minute and 600 rounds in an hour. That puts us at 27.28 feet per round. Nailed it! However, a horse in D&D can move 60 feet in a round, 120 feet if it dashes. That’s 72,000 total feet in an hour, which is only 13.63 miles per hour. Horses in real life (the Googles again) can run 25-30 mph. And that goes for nearly any non-humanoid creature in the game. They’re all too slow!

#6 – The economy is busted.

This joke has been made time and time again, but if Dungeons & Dragons were the real world, global economics and markets would be a train wreck. An unskilled worker earns 2 sp per day and a skilled worker earns 2 gp per day. But the average 1st-level adventuring group should be able to pull roughly 200 – 500 gp worth of loot out of even a small dungeon. That is the almost the income of a single skilled worker for an entire year or six unskilled workers! Of course, this is represented by inflation. After all, a great sword costs 50 gp at the typical arms dealer. Ignoring living costs, an unskilled worker would have to save up all of their earnings for nearly 8 years before they could afford to own a greatsword. Therefore, carrying a greatsword is like carrying a freakin’ BMW 3-series on your back.

#7 – Naps heal wounds.

You know what I’m talking about. A long rest heals all lost hit points. So dumb.

#8 – Grappling. All of it.

I have the hardest time visualizing grapples. Your PC can grapple a creature, which effectively turns its speed to 0. Now, if the two of you were locked up and neither one of you were moving, that’d make sense. But instead, you can move the creature with you at half your movement speed. Okay, so you’ve got them locked up pretty good, right? Wrong! They’re not restrained, therefore they can do anything they want to except move. Unless they are restrained. But how can you restrain them? You can’t unless you get a feat! Why!?! Argh!

#9 – There are rules for other tools beyond thieves’ tools in Fifth Edition.

Good thing, too, because every D&D player in the world wants to spend 4 hours roleplaying a session of calligraphy and cobbling. 🙄

#10 – The index.

Okay, this is more of a book formatting/user experience gripe, but the one thing I TRULY hate about Dungeons & Dragons Fifth Edition is the fucking index. It’s not that it doesn’t have all the things I need, it’s that when I want to look up something like, say unarmed strike, instead of telling me what page to look at it instead says “see under melee attack.” How damn hard is it to just reprint the page number? It’s the same amount of ink! Hell, it’s probably less than the ink used to redirect me! What kinda cock-a-mamie MLS bullshit is that where instead of giving me the information I want it sends me to ANOTHER entry in the index instead?


Thanks for listening to my gripes. 😂

All kidding aside, I love Dungeons & Dragons Fifth Edition. And yeah, some of these logical consistencies exist to keep the game balanced.

What weirdo rules did I miss? Let me know in the comments below!

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See you next time.



13 thoughts on “10 Stupid Rules in Dungeons & Dragons Fifth Edition (That Make Zero Sense)

  1. I do know of another ruling for short and long rests, where a short rest takes 8 hours and a long rest takes a week. While that is definitely more realistic, it does make the game kind of unbalanced because there are dungeons that can’t be beat unless some kind of rest is taken, and 8 hours of rest can cause some issues in an enemy stronghold.

    1. Being unable to storm a castle as a team of 5 people without a tricky plan for subterfuge etc? Sounds like a feature to me!

      Honestly I think that “alternate” should just be the standard rules.

  2. I thought hit points were points you spent to avoid getting hit. Your character would have been hit, and put out of the battle, but because of hit points, the numerical value of skill, luck and divine intervention, your character dodges the attack using his hit points. So it also makes sense that HP is replenished from resting.

    Also, how would intelligence help with medicine? Intelligence means understanding, but it does not help to understand a wound, you need knowledge about how to treat wounds to do a good job.

  3. Along with your Medicine complaint: Nature being an Intelligence check just seems stupid to me. I don’t know how many times my Forrest Gnome Druid couldn’t identify a plant in the Forrest because he has a low INT score. It’s incredibly frustrating .

  4. If you can’t hold your breath for 10 seconds without passing out I think you need to see a doctor and start exercising. 🤔

  5. The economy is like the real world. Commoners get paid less then they should, like most of us and Adventurers have far too much, like CEO,s! The earnings gap is huge but mirrors the real world exactly.

  6. At your suggestion, I just held my breath for a minute, and then another minute. 2 minutes total. Then I realized I’d been counting my seconds slowly and it was 2:20. It made me a bit uncomfortable.

    Conclusion, yes commoners holding their breath for 30 seconds is totally reasonable.

  7. From experience Here is a way i found works for combating number 7 without going insane. Have the encounters continue moving and tracking the party during the night. If the Party does nothing to defend themselves or set up watches and stuff they should be at disadvantage during the combat though not the mechanic of the same name. Because hey guess what you haven’t fully rested yet you don’t have your powers refreshed do you. If the party is worth its salt it will already have set up a rotation which is good but an alternate rule i have seen work out nice is if the party wants they can attempt to track down and find the lair of various monsters that have been jumping people on the road take them out and thus eliminate the evening encounter and get a better rest . Reward and encourage the party to actually do research on the enemies and the world it makes for a more living and sincere situation. It also allows for you to do camp warfare its really fun.
    Especially if the party screws up multiple times and ends up in a situation where they are coming back to base and oh look there is 3 various banners of many monster types all arrayed against you .. HAVE FUN~!

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