I rewrote the 5e Player's Handbook Index


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  • D&D Fan Rewrites the 5E Player's Handbook Index


    EN World member copperdogma has taken the time to rewrite the D&D 5E Player's Handbook index. I must admit, in my 5E games we find some amusement in the way that no matter what you look up in the index, it always seems to tell you to see something else also in the index like a little case of follow-the-breadcrumbs (which we figure takes more space than just putting the page number there!) With that in mind, a fan-created alternative seems like a great idea, and you can download it as PDF or an MS-Word document and tuck it into your book. Check it out right here.


    Original Post

    So, my friends and I hate the 5e PHB index. It sucks. So I rewrote it.

    Google search for: dnd-phb-5e-index

    (I'm too new to post links.)


    Feel free to post suggestions, updates, etc here, as a github pull request, or however you want and I'll try to incorporate it.


    The longer version:


    Why?


    My buddies and I play D&D. We have since first edition. And as much respect as we have for the creators of each edition, the index of the Fifth Edition Player's Handbook is just terrible. What do I mean? Take this example, where we want to look up listening at a door:


    - Look up listening. We find:
    - listening. See Wisdom: Perception
    - See also conditions
    - Okay.. let's try conditions. We look that up and get:
    - conditions, 290-292
    - Well that.. might be it. We look that up in the book and find three pages of conditions. The closest to listening in there is the Deafened condition. Well that's not it.
    - Back to the index for listening. Let's try Wisdom: Perception:
    - Wisdom, 12, 178
    - Animal Handling, 178
    - checks, 178
    - Insight, 178
    - Medicine, 178
    - Perception, 178
    - Survival, 178
    - So we look up Perception, 178: Ah! That's it!


    So to find the page we wanted we needed to look up the index, look up a page, read three pages before realizing that wasn't what we want, go back to the index, then back to another page.


    What it the index was better? What if the listening section looked like this:


    - listening
    - defeaned, 290
    - Perception (Wisdom), 178

    There! Now it shows us both things we may be looking for with a single page number.


    Even more annoying are entries like this (it's on three lines because that's the way it wraps in the narrow index columns):


    Destructive Wrath (cleric). See
    under Channel Divinity cleric
    options

    Wouldn't this be better?


    Destructive Wrath (cleric), 62


    Just tell me what page it's on! Don't make me look up something else AND take two extra lines to do it!


    Anyway, we were annoyed enough that I decided to fix it.




    Enjoy!






    -=Cam
    Comments 87 Comments
    1. nerfherder's Avatar
      nerfherder -
      Yeah, the index is a running joke in my group.

      Sorry, but I don't have time to contribute right now, but I'll be interested to see how this thread goes.
    1. Imaculata's Avatar
      Imaculata -
      The 3rd edition PHB index wasn't much better. You'd look up something like "nauseated", which points to page 257, which is the description for the Stinking Cloud spell. Sure, there's a description for nauseated in there, but isn't there a specific page where all the conditions are grouped together? I'm pretty sure there's also a condition called "sickened", but it isn't even in the index, and I'd definitely say that's related. And "stunned" sends me to page 39, the description of the monk's stunning fist ability. "invisible" send me to page 132, which describes attack bonuses under various conditions (one such condition is being invisible), while also sending me to page 218, which is the description of the invisibility spell.

      I'm honestly surprised that the Index for the 5e edition PHB hasn't improved at all. OP, you are entirely right. If it were up to me, all conditions would be grouped together under one chapter, and the index would make a difference between a condition, and a spell that causes it. Which is much better than simply giving you a list of pages, with no indication what aspect of the word that particular page addresses.

      When a special attack in the Monster Manual says "and you are now sickened", I want to be able to quickly look up a list of all the different types of conditions in the game, and see what they do, without having to check 3 or 4 pages. The first page that is suggested should at least always be the most common use of the search word.

      And you know, this also applies to the Monster Manual. On page 148 of the 5e edition Monster Manual, it says that a Ghast has a stench ability, that causes poison. It doesn't actually say what "poisoned" does, so unless you've memorized it, you'll have to look that up. There's plenty of white space there to include a little reference that reads: "See page 257 of the DMG", or "it deals 5 hp damage per round", or anything really. What does the poison do?! What does it do, and why do I have to look it up?
    1. designbot's Avatar
      designbot -
      I think this is great. Here's the link:

      https://github.com/copperdogma/dnd-phb-5e-index
    1. copperdogma's Avatar
      copperdogma -
      Yup! We couldn't stand it anymore, so I fixed it

      On my list is still: highlight the most canonical page number. Like the Conditions page for Poisoned should be front and center, and all of places where it happens to mention the word are secondary.
    1. copperdogma's Avatar
      copperdogma -
      [QUOTE=designbot;6760814]I think this is great. Here's the link:



      Thanks!!
    1. darjr's Avatar
      darjr -
      Dude! Thanks!
    1. hawkeyefan's Avatar
      hawkeyefan -
      Well done. My group and I kid about the index all the time. I mean, it's a minor complaint in the grand scheme of things, but that index is absolutely awful. I can't believe it went to press like that.

      Thanks for taking the time to do this and for sharing it. I've saved a copy to my phone so that I have it handy when we play.
    1. copperdogma's Avatar
      copperdogma -
      Quote Originally Posted by hawkeyefan View Post
      Well done. My group and I kid about the index all the time. I mean, it's a minor complaint in the grand scheme of things, but that index is absolutely awful. I can't believe it went to press like that.

      Thanks for taking the time to do this and for sharing it. I've saved a copy to my phone so that I have it handy when we play.
      Nice Glad you like.

      Speaking of phones, some other awesome guy is making a mobile web version using my index as the source. So you can jump to letters and do a dynamic search. I'll post here again when he's done it!
    1. delericho's Avatar
      delericho -
      Quote Originally Posted by Imaculata View Post
      The 3rd edition PHB index wasn't much better...

      I'm honestly surprised that the Index for the 5e edition PHB hasn't improved at all...
      Yep. It's a very common problem with RPGs - they're big, complex books intended for heavy referencing, and yet they're far too frequently saddled with bad (or even non-existent) indexing.

      My particular pet peeve is those RPG books that have an index that isn't placed right at the back of the book - they have the index and then some number of pages of summarised rules. Where both the index and the summaries are good things, but by placing them in the wrong order they make them both suck.

      (All that said, what we should really have, now we're in the 21st century, is an online database of everything, all properly hyperlinked together and searchable for easy reference.)
    1. El Mahdi's Avatar
      El Mahdi -
      Outstanding!!!

      You Rock @copperdogma!!!
    1. copperdogma's Avatar
      copperdogma -
      Quote Originally Posted by delericho View Post
      Yep. It's a very common problem with RPGs - they're big, complex books intended for heavy referencing, and yet they're far too frequently saddled with bad (or even non-existent) indexing.

      My particular pet peeve is those RPG books that have an index that isn't placed right at the back of the book - they have the index and then some number of pages of summarised rules. Where both the index and the summaries are good things, but by placing them in the wrong order they make them both suck.

      (All that said, what we should really have, now we're in the 21st century, is an online database of everything, all properly hyperlinked together and searchable for easy reference.)
      No doubt! It also feels like the released it like software: rush it out and patch it later. But it's not software. It's a book. You can't patch it (aside from what I did with this index).

      I'd rather they release the PHB as an app, complete with dynamic search, live examples, videos, easily accessible tables, dice roller, DM tools, etc. Whatever would help comprehension. Then they could update it as they go. I'd buy that in a second. I'd miss paper, but I wouldn't miss it THAT much.
    1. Werebat's Avatar
      Werebat -
      Awesome, copperdogma! This really needed to be done -- glad you did it!
    1. keterys's Avatar
      keterys -
      This was also a running joke in our group. Thanks!
    1. WayneLigon's Avatar
      WayneLigon -
      Thank you for your time and an awesome, practical contribution Last session I was directed to four separate locations just in the index and never did find what I needed.
    1. Wrathamon's Avatar
      Wrathamon -
      Now I am not saying the index couldn't be better... but I think you're using it wrong.

      - Look up listening. We find:
      - listening. See Wisdom: Perception
      - See also conditions
      - Okay.. let's try conditions. We look that up and get:

      Read more: http://www.enworld.org/forum/content...#ixzz3rs3jNWXp
      Why would you go to conditions? It says listening. See Wisdom: Perception. Why not just go straight there? Then go to conditions if your question wasn't answered.

      I get that you are trying to make a point, but not a great example.
    1. Larrin's Avatar
      Larrin -
      For me it was looking up "running" in the index that highlighted the problem rather clearly (at least I think that was it). As I recall, looking up 'running' tells you to look up 'dash', looking up dash tells you to look up 'actions:dash', looking up actions leads you to the page number for actions in general, and below it are the various subsections through which you look for dash and finally get the page number of 192.

      This says: run (Dash action), 192 so it passes every requirement I have for it.
    1. copperdogma's Avatar
      copperdogma -
      Quote Originally Posted by Larrin View Post
      For me it was looking up "running" in the index that highlighted the problem rather clearly (at least I think that was it). As I recall, looking up 'running' tells you to look up 'dash', looking up dash tells you to look up 'actions:dash', looking up actions leads you to the page number for actions in general, and below it are the various subsections through which you look for dash and finally get the page number of 192.

      This says: run (Dash action), 192 so it passes every requirement I have for it.
      That's exactly it That's the crap we couldn't stand anymore.

      I'm sure there are a TON of things that still need to be tweaked. Entries missing entirely, entries missing the prime page you're actually looking for, etc. I'll keep updating it!
    1. Obvious_Ninja's Avatar
      Obvious_Ninja -
      Wow! This was great! Thank you for this...
    1. Uder's Avatar
      Uder -
      Thank you for taking the time to do this copperdogma.
    1. Bulldozers's Avatar
      Bulldozers -
      Lovely!!

      Just amazing what a major publication can take for a decent index. Your edit vastly improves the utility behind the PHB's steaming pile.

      Where rules are concerned, things shouldn't be so hard when you pay the 50 bucks.

      Thanks much!!
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