When to Italicize and Capitalize (DnD Guideline)
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The following are guidelines based on general observations from official WotC D&D products.
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
The following should always be capitalized:
- Ability scores (Strength, Constitution, and Wis)
- Skills (Spot), but not the subset of skills within the Craft, Knowledge, Perform, Profession skills [Craft (weaponsmithing), Knowledge (arcana), Perform (carnal acts), Profession (the oldest one)]
- Feats (Combat Reflexes)
- Salient Divine abilities (Divine Creation)
- Special ability markers (Ex, Sp, Ps, and Su)
- Saves (Fortitude save, Reflex save, and Will save)
- "Armor Class"
- "Difficulty Class"
- "Hit Dice"
- Languages (Dwarven and Elven)
- Identifiers that occur inside older stat block formats that denote a creature's type and subtypes [Humanoid (Human, Shapechanger)]
- One of a kind artifacts (Eye of Vecna)
- Sizes (Small)
- Domains, but not the trailing word "domain" (War domain)
- Special abilities in the "Special" column of class tables1 (Wild Shape, Uncanny Dodge, Improved Evasion)
- Planes (Material Plane)
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)