Help:Standards and Formatting (DnD Guideline)

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The following are guidelines based on general observations from official Wizards of the Coast products.

For guidance outside of WotC books or this article, a good rule of thumb is Wikipedia's List of Guidelines.

Grammar Styles[edit]

The language used on D&D Wiki is U.S. English. The only exception to this is proper nouns that are spelled in a way to reflect in-game culture. This is not meant to alienate anyone, but is taking standards set forth by WoTC.

Some examples of U.S. English vs. U.K. English: favorite instead of favourite, maneuver instead of manoeuvre, -ize instead of -ise, armor instead of armour, or aluminum instead of aluminium.

For those who do not write in U.S. English but wish to participate and adhere to standards, web browsers like Firefox 3 have built in spell checkers with the ability to install U.S. English dictionaries.

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When to Italicize

Spells, powers, spell-like abilities, and psi-like abilities, such as greater teleport, should be italicized. Other special abilities in themselves should not be italicized (even if they mimic a spell of the same name, such as a balor's true seeing ability), but may be italicized if they used as certain type of heading. (See the following paragraph.)

Sub-headings under bold in-line headings (e.g. the individual class feature and special ability headings) should be italicized (and in-line). The lycanthrope’s special qualities section and the rogue’s special abilities section are prime examples of this.

Names of magic and psionic items should be italicized, such as ring of wizardry II, and potion of bear's endurance. Nonmagical and nonpsionic items made out of special materials, such as adamantine breastplate should not be italicized.

Sourcebook names should be italicized (Dragon Magic).

When to Capitalize[edit]

The following should always be capitalized:

The following should always follow the same rules for capitalization as if you were writing a term paper for class (i.e. the beginning of a sentence, titles and headings, proper nouns, acronyms, etc...):

  • Alignments (lawful good)
  • Spells and powers (mage's disjunction and Mordenkainen’s disjunction)
  • Special abilities (energy drain)
  • Classes (rogue, monk, and barbarian)
  • Magic and psionic items (tome of understanding) except for one of a kind artifacts
  • Mundane items (monk's outfit)
  • Races (dwarf and elves) and creatures (frost giant)
  • Named bonuses (dodge, deflection, and circumstantial)
  • Spell schools (necromancy) and subschools (healing)
  • Power disciplines (clairsentience) and subdisciplines (scrying)
  • Spell and power descriptors (force)
  • Types (aberration) and subtypes (goblinoid) outside of older stat block formats and ones inside the new stat block format

The following should never be capitalized2:

  • The unit indicating die size (10d6 and d20 System Reference Document)

  1. This is an exception to the WotC format, in that WotC treats abilities in class tables as sentences and only the first word is capitalized. The decision for this exception was made by the D&D wiki community in the interest of aesthetics.
  2. A limitation of MediaWiki is that the first character of every page title (provided it's a letter) is capitalized.

Common Misspellings[edit]

Misspellings Correct
lightening (illuminating) lightning (electricity)
mithril (J. R. R. Tolkien) mithral (Gygax)
rouge (a color) rogue (a scoundrel)
diety (weight-lossy) deity (god[dess])

Commonly Used Special Characters[edit]

Character Code Description
− Minus sign
– En dash: literally means "through" (19–20, 1st–9th)
— Em dash: used to represent values of N/A or Nil (e.g. a non-ability "Con —")
× × Multiplication sign
→ Right arrow: used for the "Back to" footers
‘ Left single quotation mark
’ Right single quotation mark; also used as an apostrophe
“ Left double quotation mark
” Right double quotation mark

Typical Phrases and Sentence Structure[edit]

Class Feature (Sp): "At Xth level, you can use such-and-such as a spell-like ability Y times per day."


  • The common usage of "affect" is a verb. (This only affects non-living matter.) The common usage of "effect" is a noun. (Living matter is not subject to this effect.)
    • An "affect", as a noun, is a physical manifestation of an emotion, such as a frown indicating sadness. To "effect", as a verb, is to put into practice; "to effect a change" is to make that change happen. These uses are somewhat uncommon.
  • "Half-elf" and "half-orc" are not subtypes. Half-elves are humanoids with the elf subtype, and half-orcs are humanoids with the orc subtype.
  • "Subdual" was a 3.0 term. In 3.5 it's now called "nonlethal."
  • Magic/psionic weapons and armor names have the enhancement bonus listed first, such as a +1 flaming longsword. Other magic/psionic items with bonuses in their names list the bonus last, such as bracers of armor +6.
  • Dark elves are typically referred to as "drow" or "dark elves," but not "drow elves." The same is true several other races: "gray dwarves" or "duergar," "deep gnomes" or "svirfneblin," "tallfellows" (not "tallfellow halflings"), "blues" (not "blue goblins").

See Also[edit]

Character Class Design Guidelines (DnD Other)


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This page contains standards originally proposed by Sledged

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