Sunday, November 30, 2014

5e DMG First Impressions


I just picked up the Dungeon Master's Guide from the local gaming store last night (paying twice as much as I would have paid on Amazon, but the twin desires to support local business and have it right then won out), so I have had a chance to get into it any any detail, but on an initial flip-through, a few things are apparent:

  • The contents are nice in the abstract, but their development isn't quite what I would have liked in several places. It's all well and good to say you can give XP for things other than killing monsters, but more robust guidelines would have been nice. Likewise with new race creation, since the races in the PHB seem to be built with some ideas of balance in mind, more specific guidelines would have been nice. I don't need a book to tell me I can make up stuff beyond what's in the book--but I'm probably not the audience for that sort of advice.
  • In contrast to the race creation "rules," the monster creation stuff seems to be well done and reasonably detailed without going overboard.
  • I like the sections on playing D&D in different genres of fantasy, but neither the genres nor the audience is served by having all of the examples be from D&D tie-in novels. I'm not against including those for commercial reasons, but having those be the only ones given seems a bit crass.
  • I like the number of variety of variant rules, though I don't know that I'll use any of them.

7 comments:

christian said...

It sounds like the DMG is similar to the old AD&D 2e version. It's nice, but not necessary to run a campaign.

Trey said...

Yeah, I'd say that's a fair description.

Jack said...

Has there ever been a DMG that was necessary to run the game? Usually it just becomes "the book the magic items are in" after the first week.

Trey said...

Well, I guess the AD&D DMG had the combat charts in them, so unless you had a the screen, it was essential for that. The 2e DMG had the rules for doling out XP, so that was necessary, too. The books as a whole, you're probably right.

Joshua said...

The 1e DMG was certainly not necessary to run a game. A good thing, too, since it was two years between the publication of the PHB and the DMG. Most people filled in any missing bits with OD&D, Basic, or home-brew.

Trey said...

@Joshua - I suppose in some sense, nothing is necessary to run the game but in a more meaningful sense (and as I said) the combat charts were necessary. You could get them a place other than the DMG (the screen is what we used), but they weren't in the PHB.

garrisonjames said...

Not a fan of the genre-blinders and marketing-category restrictions that tend to get foisted on would-be DMs or writers. If the majority of the references cited are gaming-derived stuff it becomes not only crass, but down-right incestuous and rather limiting, especially for younger, less well-read souls looking for some guidance or suggestions...which is the real audience for this book. Us old farts will get around to buying it, but we don't really need it. Would have been nice if they had finally presented some sort of OGL/SRD thingy to go with this 'tool-set.'