D&D 5th Edition Dungeon Master's Guide

Hygelak

Villager
5 out of 5 rating for D&D 5th Edition Dungeon Master's Guide

As a fan of the 1e DMG I think this is a worthy successor. At first I was annoyed about so many pages devoted to the planes, but that chapter was so well written I found myself drawn in to the topic for the first time. The adventure and NPC creation tables and advice aren't exhaustive, but succinct and useful. The magic item section is a joy to read, and unlike some others I think the alphabetical organization was the right choice. Art is wonderful of course, and even in instances where it's not aesthetically "my thing" it's still very well done. Love the Appendix on dungeon creation and the included maps -- Between these and all the tables I can imagine improvising a session. If I have one complaint it's with a couple rules that are unclear to me, including a couple of the variants, but I'm accepting that this edition isn't about spelling everything out. Overall a great book, probably my favorite of the core.
 

log in or register to remove this ad

Nekkroe

First Post
5 out of 5 rating for D&D 5th Edition Dungeon Master's Guide

What do I want from a DMG??

Inspiration and Creative motivation for unique and wondrous storytelling within a well defined RPG system.

I now have an ass-load and I feel like a kid on crack again!
 
Last edited:

JTorres

First Post
5 out of 5 rating for D&D 5th Edition Dungeon Master's Guide

As someone who stopped playing D&D during the 3/3.XX era and passed on the 4th, I'm glad the game has gone back to a more interpretative rules structure. While I know many players and DMs prefer a more codified rule set, I do enjoy the freedom of making the game entirely my own. The DMG departs from the other two core books in that it allows for more complexity to be layered onto the simple foundation laid by the PHB. One example of this that I immediately instituted into my game are the "Lingering Injuries" rules (page 272); I run a grittier game where the violence takes its toll on the players and I had already altered the healing rules on my own prior to the release of the DMG but the "Lingering Injuries" rules help round out the bloodier feel of my campaign. Another example of this discretionary complexity that I want to use is the optional honor and sanity ability scores. I will be introducing both ability scores into my campaign as way of furthering role-playing opportunities for my players: an honor ability score will allow a mechanical means for the paladin in my group to make use of the rigid way she plays her character and the sanity ability score is something I plan to use to further ratchet up the tension in my campaign by creating a mental impact on the players of the bloody violence in my game. Without a doubt, there could be a person reading these examples that would never want to do anything of this sort in their game but therein lies the beauty of the DMG (and 5th edition as a whole): the system is just loose enough to allow me to play D&D this way and for someone else to play it their way. These examples of optional rules aside, other personal high points in the DMG include the section on magic items. While there is nothing new of particular note, this section is a "greatest hits" of the best magic items in the game's history which is similar to the approach taken in the MM. I also very much like the copious amounts of random tables the DMG has and, while I'm experienced enough not to need tables like this, I appreciate the time-saving nature of these inclusions because frankly I just don't have the time to write elaborate adventures or design detailed dungeons as I did in my younger days. Often just a cursory glance at a few tables has been enough to spark an adventure idea for me. I could continue to offer up more examples of what I like in the DMG but I do want to point out the one disappointment I have: I would have liked to see the Dungeon Master's Workshop section be more robust. Frankly, the DMG seems light on optional rule bits. Apart from this one minor complaint, I very much like this edition of the DMG and I heartily recommend it to both new players and long-time players alike.
 

Argyle King

Legend
3 out of 5 rating for D&D 5th Edition Dungeon Master's Guide

I'll start by saying I was pretty anxious to pick up the 5th Edition DMG. I already have the PHB and the MM, so this was the third book I needed for the "core set." While there are a lot of great things inside the Dungeon Master's Guide, I somehow came away feeling less enthusiastic than other reviewers appear to feel. It could certainly be possible that my expectations were too high; though, I also believe part of my feeling was some Deja Vu from how my experience with early 4th Edition went. I'll touch upon that further down in the review.


The first impression of the 5th Edition DMG is that the book looks fantastic. The artwork (as with most of 5E) is great. Likewise, the text and tables are clearly featured and easy to read. The only visual anomaly I found upon a quick browse was on page 15; there were some oddities concerning the words on the page having bled into the paper on the left side. It's nothing major; it could very well be unique to my copy. I only noticed because I once worked in a print shop, so I tend to notice such things.I felt that the discussions about playstyles and various other things at the beginning of the book were good, but a little shallow. The information presented was great, it it's a nice primer to get someone started on thinking about such things when putting together a campaign, but I feel like there could have been a little more. That being said, I understand there are only so many pages in a book. I somewhat expect later products to expand upon the "Flavors of Fantasy" section; I imagine that some of the setting books will delve further into the flavors they tend to embody (Ravenloft for Dark Fantasy -as an example.)


Discussion of the planes was interesting. I somewhat like the 5E approach of using a version of the Great Wheel which also keeps the Feywild and the Shadowfell. I also like that the DMG gives a few options and inspiration for running a game which is more in tune with other editions or just other cosmological assumptions in general. In the section on planes, but, then a few times later in the books as well, I noticed that the DMG sidebars and examples serve as a way to sneak a little more of 4th Edition back into the game. In a way, I like that approach. I like it because -attempting to put myself in the shoes of the designers- it seems like the best way they could have gone about including those options without getting backlash from parts of the customer base who might be opposed to them. If you don't yet have the book, an example of what I mean is the inclusion of 4E-style Eladrin via the example given later in the book of how to design new races for your campaign.



Between the tables, discussions of playstyle, and various other things in the DMG, there is a lot of good information. What I don't really gather from the DMG is a good idea about how the game actually works in play. It's difficult for me to explain what I mean by that, but the basic feeling I have is that there's a lot of great information and tools given to me, but I still don't quite know what 5th Edition's identity is. However, in spite of that, there are times when I come away feeling more shallow than I'd like. That's where I start getting the Deja Vu feeling because I was extremely happy with the first three 4E books when I first picked them up, but then the game moved forward in a direction that I didn't care for; there are a few times during my reading of the DMG that I started to feel a worry that a similar thing may happen again with 5E. Since this is a review, I wish I had something more substantial to point to and explain that feeling, but I honestly (at this point in time) don't.



The main negative I can point to as I come away from the DMG is that I still don't know what identity 5th Edition has as a game, and -more importantly- as a roleplaying game; what identity will it have a year from now? One area where this question is most prevalent for me is in encounter design. Somehow, despite the fact that I have both a Monster Manual and a DMG with tons of tables and charts, I still do not really know what I am doing when it comes to designing encounters for 5th Edition. I can look at and understand the numbers being shown, but I still do not have a good feel for how to produce the results I want in actual play. I feel as though that's part of what a DMG is supposed to do; so, since I have the DMG and still do not feel confident when it comes to the aspect of running a game, I cannot help but to see that as a negative. Though, to be fair, that may be due to the edition being so early in its life cycle; perhaps future books which are produced after the game is tested more will answer some of my questions.



By no means would I dare say the DMG is a bad book. It isn't. However, at the time of me writing this, I look at the 90-something percent rating given to it and am somewhat baffled by that. There are many things about the book I really like. However, it somehow feels shallow. That is odd to say because there's a lot of information given in the DMG; it just somehow doesn't really give me what I thought the DMG would give me. That is more of an idea about what kind of game 5th Edition is. I almost come away feeling as though the DMG could have been a collection of Dungeon articles. To be fair, the price of the book would be consistent with the Dungeon (and Dragon) compilations that were released in the past. So, from that standpoint, I do not regret my purchase. There's plenty of information here which is good; I'm just not so sure it's not information that I couldn't find in pretty much any other book about running a game, and I could very likely get more in depth treatment of the topics I want from those other sources. The one thing I wanted from the DMG was more of an idea about what 5th Edition's identity is, and I don't think I got that. A contrasting idea would be to say that the options presented allow me to make the identity of the game whatever I want, but the material -while very thorough- somehow feels shallow enough that I'm not so sure that is true; I won't know whether it's true or not until I see future products.
 
Last edited:


Quickleaf

Legend
5 out of 5 rating for D&D 5th Edition Dungeon Master's Guide

Great presentation and art, solid writing that hits that sweet spot between flowery and terse, more useful tables than you can shake a goblin at, and an excellent combination of both advice and hard rules. It's not perfect, but this is a terrific DMG! 4.5 out of 5 stars!

My top 4 favorite things are:

1. The attention to detail, particularly where teaching DMing & handling DMing logistics are concerned. Chapter 8: Running the Game does the best job covering the logistics of DMing than I've seen any core rulebook cover.
2. Chapter 7: Treasure chapter knocks it out of the park! Magic items have never looked so good, appeared in such great number, or felt so magic in any core book that I recall. Epic boons are icing on the cake.
3. The adventure and encounter creation guidelines are solid. I was pleasantly surprised at how well done the various tables were; despite being a veteran DM, I could actually see myself using these!
4. There are lots of little touches that are positively dripping with flavor and scream "use me in your campaign!" Madness tables, I'm looking at you.It's not all puppies and rainbows, however.

My top 4 criticisms are:

1. In Running The Game there should be a guide to improvising conditions, or at least assigning a level or "deadliness" to various conditions. A condition track alternative would have been most welcome as well!
2. The DM's Toolkit chapter should explain how various rules options interact with each other. For example, proficiency dice work best when combined with automatic successes because it allows for more predictable skill check results while still allowing for a modest bit of randomness - d4, d6, d8, d10, or d12 rather than d20. This was actually an idea Mike Mearls floated in one of the Legends & Lore articles.
3. A quick n' dirty table/guidelines for estimating Challenge Rating (CR) of NPCs made using the PHB rules for PCs would go a long way. Sure, it's the sort of things us fans can hack, but really it belongs in the DMG.
4. There are only 8 traps and 3 diseases described (compare that to the copious number of magic items and random tables). Personally, I would have snipped out the dungeon dressing tables or a few magic items in order to add more traps and a few more diseases...or, better yet, curses! So, in effect my final criticism amounts to wanting more, which says a lot about the quality of the 5th edition DMG!
 
Last edited:

Patrick McGill

First Post
5 out of 5 rating for D&D 5th Edition Dungeon Master's Guide

As far as the books are concerned, I think I would place them from favorite to least in this order: The Dungeon Master’s Guide, the Monster Manual, and the Player’s Handbook. Generally this is probably because of my focus in the RPG realm, but also because I feel like as volumes at the table (or between sessions), I feel like the DMG and MM are simply more powerful than the PHB. I really like the PHB, don’t get me wrong, but it is weighed down by some indexing issues and by the fact that it is very trim in comparison to the other two books in raw good stuff. If that makes sense?Obviously this has a good reason: the PHB needs to be straightforward and of single purpose in order to be easily used to create characters. I do hope at some point it’s worth is decreased even more by a robust digital toolset.
 

Grainger

Explorer
5 out of 5 rating for D&D 5th Edition Dungeon Master's Guide

The 5th-edition DMG is full of great ideas for DMs, provides vast numbers of magic items (which is a good thing, even for we DMs who are stingy about handing them out) and gorgeously illustrated. It's also very readable. Just about as good as it could be, really.
 

jadrax

Adventurer
5 out of 5 rating for D&D 5th Edition Dungeon Master's Guide

A truly worthy product, that manages to cover a lot of ground in one book. While not indispensable, highly recommended.
 

Talmek

Explorer
5 out of 5 rating for D&D 5th Edition Dungeon Master's Guide

After reading the DMG side by side with it's 3.5 and 4e predecessors it feels as though this one was a home run. With enough tables to please Gygax himself but all of them useful to quickly build an encounter, a session or even a full campaign. This is exactly what I needed as a DM with little time to sit and prepare but plenty to improvise for my players I feel that this is the best one yet. Well done WotC - A+ in my book on this one!
 

Remove ads

AD6_gamerati_skyscraper

Remove ads

Upcoming Releases

Top