Glossary of Terms

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Below is a list of terms which are used frequently in Epic Path, or in d20-based games in general. This is meant as a quick reference guide for players new to Epic Path.

Table: Glossary of Terms

Term A.K.A. Definition
Ability Score Stat, attribute One of the six primary statistics defining a character's general attributes. These are Strength (STR), Dexterity (DEX), Constitution (CON), Intelligence (INT), Wisdom (WIS) and Charisma (CHA). Some campaigns feature one or more additional ability scores, though these are campaign specific. See also Ability Scores, Character Creation.
Ability Modifier stat mod, mod The modifier produced by the ability score. This is calculated as (ability score - 10)/2 (round down). Thus, a score of 12 has a modifier of +1, while a score of 14 has a modifier of +2.
Ally - A member of your party, including yourself (unless specifically excluded), or an NPC that is assisting you in a battle. Bystander NPC's who are not hostile, but are also not actively helping, are not considered allies.
Absolute Bonus Related to magic weapons, shields and armor. The absolute bonus is the sum of the item's enhancement bonus plus any magic properties, and is used to determine the cost of the item's magical enchantments. Magic properties have a cost described in terms of a plus-number from 1 to 9, just like the enhancement bonus. For example, a Speed magic weapon property is a +3 property. If applied to a weapon with a +2 enhancement bonus, the absolute bonus of the weapon is +5.
Base Attack Bonus BAB Each character class has a base attack bonus, which increases with your level in that class. This bonus is added to all to-hit rolls when calculating your attack bonus.

Bonus Types

  • Armor Bonus to AC
  • Shield Bonus
  • Natural Armor
  • Deflection AC
  • Dodge Bonus
  • Morale Bonus
  • Luck Bonus
  • Martial Bonus
  • Feat Bonus
  • Circumstance Bonus
  • Competence Bonus
  • Resistance Bonus

David's Additions

Activate Magic Item

Many magic items don’t need to be activated. Certain magic items, however, do need to be activated, especially potions, scrolls, wands, rods, and staves. Unless otherwise noted, activating a magic item is a standard action.

Spell Completion Items

Activating a spell completion item is the equivalent of casting a spell. It requires concentration and provokes attacks of opportunity. You lose the spell if your concentration is broken, and you can attempt to activate the item while on the defensive, as with casting a spell.

Spell Trigger, Command Word, or Use-Activated Items

Activating any of these kinds of items does not require concentration and does not provoke attacks of opportunity.



Cave-In or Collapse (CR 8)

Gamemastering >Traps, Hazards & Special Terrains >Hazards >Mundane Hazards >

XP 4,800
Cave-ins and collapsing tunnels are extremely dangerous. Not only do dungeon explorers face the danger of being crushed by tons of falling rock, but even if they survive they might be buried beneath a pile of rubble or cut off from the only known exit. A cave-in buries anyone in the middle of the collapsing area, and then sliding debris damages anyone in the periphery of the collapse. A typical corridor subject to a cave-in might have a bury zone with a 15-foot radius and a 10-foot-wide slide zone extending beyond the bury zone.
A weakened ceiling can be spotted with a DC 20 Knowledge (Engineering) or DC 20 Profession (Stonemasonry) check. Remember that Profession checks can be made untrained as Intelligence checks. A Dwarf can make such a check if he simply passes within 10 feet of a weakened ceiling.
A weakened ceiling might collapse when subjected to a major impact or concussion. A character can cause a cave-in by destroying half the pillars holding up the ceiling.
Characters in the bury zone of a cave-in take 8d6 points of damage, or half that amount if they make a DC 15 REFL save. They are subsequently buried. Characters in the slide zone take 3d6 points of damage, or no damage at all if they make a DC 15 REFL save. Characters in the slide zone who fail their saves are buried.
Characters take 1d6 points of Non-Lethal Damage per minute while buried. If such a character falls unconscious, he must make a DC 15 Constitution check each minute. If it fails, he takes 1d6 points of lethal damage each minute until freed or dead.
Characters who aren’t buried can dig out their friends. In 1 minute, using only her hands, a character can clear rocks and debris equal to five times her heavy load limit. The amount of loose stone that fills a 5-foot-by-5-foot area weighs 1 ton (2,000 pounds). Armed with an appropriate tool, such as a pick, crowbar, or shovel, a digger can clear loose stone twice as quickly as by hand. A buried character can attempt to free himself with a DC 25 Strength check.

Challenge Rating

Challenge Rating (or CR) is a convenient number used to indicate the relative danger presented by a monster, trap, hazard, or other encounter—the higher the CR, the more dangerous the encounter. Refer to Table: Encounter Design to determine the Challenge Rating your group should face, depending on the difficulty of the challenge you want and the group’s APL.

Extraordinary Ability (Ex)

Extraordinary Abilities are unusual abilities that do not rely on magic to function. They are not something that just anyone can do or even learn to do without extensive training. Effects or areas that suppress or negate magic have no effect on extraordinary abilities.


we removed 'normal light' from the game, and changed "Supernatural Darkness" to "True Darkness".  If you think they should be located somewhere else (they're located in the "types of senses" page) to be easier to find, let me know.

Illuminating Darkness

Given how powerful it is to take away someone’s sight in this game, few topics share the three ‘C’s that make light and darkness such an important topic: Common, Crucial, and Confusing. This sidebar is meant to explain light and darkness so by the end, you will be armed and ready to run light and darkness in your games, even the edgiest of edge cases.
Lets start by covering a number of important guidelines for dealing with light and darkness in your game.

Let There Be Light

In the absence of darkness magic, light magic is fairly straightforward. Without magic involved, there are four light levels: Darkness, Dim Light, Normal Light, and Bright Light. Each light spell tells you what light level it creates, and in what radius. So that’s not bad at all!

What a Nice Ambience

Darkness magic by itself isn’t too bad either, but it’s harder to deal with than light magic. Darkness spells first negate nonmagical light sources like lanterns and sunrods, and then they tell you how many steps to reduce the “ambient” light, and some of them can create a new fifth light level called Supernatural Darkness below Darkness, in which even darkvision is useless (but the devil/darkfolk ability see in darkness still reigns supreme). However, there’s one tricky nuance in darkness magic, and that’s the question “what is ambient anyway?” The FAQ from October 2010 tells us a little more: it defines ambient light as “the light level from natural sources, such as the sun, moon, and stars—not torches, campfires, light spells, and so on.” This is a good start, but it leads into a debate about “natural.” So here’s the strongest rule of thumb for what kind of light is ambient, “If a creature is moving it around with them, it’s almost never ambient, and if the light is quite different in pockets instead of spread throughout an area uniformly, it’s probably not ambient (with exceptions for holes in the ceiling streaming down sunlight in patches, for example).” For example, in a cavern lit by luminescent fungi, that light is ambient. If a svirfneblin plucked some of the fungi and put them in a lantern-frame and carried them around, the light is not ambient. If a svirfneblin took some seeds and grew a cavern of the fungi equivalent to the first, it’s ambient. Use your judgment, but with an eye towards most corner cases not being ambient.

And Ne’er the Two Shall Meet

OK, we can do light, and we can do darkness. But what if the two of them meet? There’s quite a few interactions, including a special exception for the spell daylight, so first let’s focus on the basic interactions. From the descriptors and the spells themselves, we glean the following facts: Spells with the light descriptor only raise the light level within an area of a darkness descriptor spell if they are higher level than the darkness descriptor spell. Apparently also, darkness spells can counter or dispel light spells of equal or lower level (and light spells can do the same to darkness spells). So what does that mean?

I Counter Your Counter!

There are many ways to misinterpret the “counter or dispel” text for light and darkness spells. Here’s how that particular rule actually works. To counter a spell of the opposing descriptor, you ready an action just like any other counterspell. Just as normal for counterspell, the target of the spell must be within range (which, without Reach Spell metamagic, is touch for most light and darkness spells). If the target is in range, you automatically counter the opposing spell and it has no effect, just like always for counterspell. To dispel, you simply cast your spell on the same target (just like with enlarge person and reduce person) and then they cancel each other out, leaving no spell. Again, the range is usually touch and the target is the object that radiates the darkness or light; you can’t just touch an arbitrary spot within the darkness or light.

Pierce the Darkness

Now that we have those out of the way, let’s assume the more typical case where someone cast a darkness spell on one object, somebody else cast a light spell on another object, and the areas overlap. We’re still not dealing with daylight yet. Based on the rules of light and darkness, here’s how to adjudicate this situation within the overlap:
First, the darkness spell turns off nonmagical light sources and lowers the ambient light level. If there are multiple darkness spells, figure out the highest spell level (not caster level!)
Next, the light spells attempt to shine through. For every light spell, check to see if it has a higher spell level (not caster level!) than the highest spell level of any of the darkness spells. If so, that light spell has its normal effect, as per the spell. Do not reduce its light level again for the darkness spell; that already happened. This is true in all overlapping areas, as per the May 2013 FAQ, whether the light spell’s source object is within the area of darkness or not.

Here I Stand, in the Light of Day

OK, so what about daylight? We’ve been putting that one off until now because it simply doesn’t work like other light and darkness spells. As it says “Daylight brought into an area of magical darkness (or vice versa) is temporarily negated, so that the otherwise prevailing light conditions exist in the overlapping areas of effect.” Daylight comes in, if necessary right after those last two bullet points in section 5.
If no other light spell is sufficient to overcome the darkness spells in the overlapping area, and if there is a daylight spell active in the overlapping area, the daylight spell’s special negation clause kicks in (regardless of the spell level of daylight and the darkness spell; it just works, always). This means that you negate all the magical light changes in the area and bring it back to prevailing conditions. As a side effect of negating the magical darkness, those nonmagical light sources activate again (while they are not ambient, they were still part of prevailing conditions). Other magical light sources still are not active in the area; they had their chance to attempt to negate the darkness spells and didn’t, so they were not part of the prevailing light conditions, instead subsumed by daylight’s more powerful special negation clause.

Will Anyone Think of the Elves?

So what about low-light vision anyway? Those guys can see twice as far via light sources. However, they don’t change the actual radius of the magic at all. We’ll examine what that means for each step separately, using elves as an example instead of always saying “creatures with low-light vision” all the time:
In areas with light magic only, elves see twice as far. So with daylight, elves get 120 feet of bright light followed by 120 feet of one step up from normal.
In areas with darkness magic only, elves are affected by darkness spells in the same region. Since darkness spells quench the effects of nonmagical light sources before applying their reduction, elves should almost always be experiencing the same light level as everyone else (if supposedly “ambient” light was dispersed enough in pockets that the elf’s low-light vision was giving it a different light level, chances are the light wasn’t ambient to begin with). In the rare cases with odd pockets of ambient light, it is possible that an elf experiences a different light level in the darkness spell due to the ambient light being different for the elf.
In areas with both light and darkness magic, the elf being an elf does not change where the magics overlap. But where is that? The spells target an object, rather than stating an emanation. For the purpose of determining where light and darkness magics have an overlapping region, look at the spell and determine the farthest radius where it has an effect (for example, that would be 120 feet for daylight, 20 feet for darkness, and 40 feet for continual flame).

Line of Sight

Line of Effect

  • Melee Attack
  • Ranged Attack
  • Thrown Weapon


Supernatural Ability (Su)

Supernatural abilities are magical attacks, defenses, and qualities. These abilities can be always active or they can require a specific action to utilize. The supernatural ability’s description includes information on how it is used and its effects.

Universal Monster Rules

Amphibious (Monster Ability)

Creatures with this special quality have the aquatic subtype, but they can survive indefinitely on land.
Format: amphibious; Location: SQ.

Breath Weapon (Monster Ability)

Some creatures can exhale a cone, line, or cloud of energy or other magical effects. A Breath Weapon attack usually deals damage and is often based on some type of energy. Breath Weapons allow a REFL save for half damage (DC 10 + 1/2 breathing creature’s racial HD + breathing creature’s CON modifier; the exact DC is given in the creature’s descriptive text). A creature is immune to its own Breath Weapon unless otherwise noted. Some Breath Weapons allow a FORT save or a WILL save instead of a REFL save. Each Breath Weapon also includes notes on how often it can be used, even if this number is limited in times per day.

Format: breath weapon (60-ft. cone, 8d6 Fire Damage, Reflex DC 20 for half, usable every 1d4 rounds); Location: Special Attacks; if the breath is more complicated than damage, it also appears under Special Abilities with its own entry.

Earth Glide (Ex)

When the creature burrows, it can pass through stone, dirt, or almost any other sort of earth except metal as easily as a fish swims through water. If protected against Fire Damage, it can even glide through lava. Its burrowing leaves behind no tunnel or hole, nor does it create any ripple or other sign of its presence. A Move Earth (Spell) cast on an area containing the burrowing creature flings it back 30 feet, stunning it for 1 round unless it succeeds on a DC 15 FORT save.

Format: earth glide; Location: Speed.

Pounce (Monster Ability)

When a creature with this special attack makes a charge, it can make a full attack (including rake attacks if the creature also has the rake ability).
Format: pounce; Location: Special Attacks.
Can a creature with pounce make iterative attacks with weapons as part of my full attack?
Any melee attack sequence you can perform as a full attack is allowed as part of the charge-pounce-full attack. For example, a barbarian with the greater beast totem rage power gains the pounce universal monster ability and could make iterative attacks with manufactured melee weapons as part of her charge-pounce-full attack.
If a creature with pounce is under a slow effect, and it charges, does it still get its full attack from pounce?
According to the rules as written, pounce would allow the creature its full attack, despite the slow effect. (This happens because there is no “partial charge” action.)
If a creature with pounce is under a haste effect, and it charges, does it get the extra attack from haste?
Yes. This is a revised ruling about how haste interacts with effects that are essentially a full attack, even though the creature isn’t specifically using the full attack action (as required by haste). The earlier ruling implied that pounce did not allow the extra attack from haste because pounce wasn’t using the full attack action.

Trip (Monster Ability)

A creature with the trip special attack can attempt to trip its opponent as a free action without provoking an attack of opportunity if it hits with the specified attack. If the attempt fails, the creature is not tripped in return.
Format: trip (bite); Location: individual attacks.

Vulnerabilities (Monster Ability)

A creature with vulnerabilities takes half again as much damage (+50%) from a specific energy type, regardless of whether a saving throw is allowed or if the save is a success or failure. Creatures with a vulnerability that is not an energy type instead take a –4 penalty on saves against spells and effects that cause or use the listed vulnerability (such as spells with the light descriptor). Some creatures might suffer additional effects, as noted in their descriptions.
Format: Vulnerability to [fire]; Location: Weaknesses.