If the D&D Starter Set is any indication of the quality and work that will go into the rest of this new edition D&D product line, then it's very likely the game has a real future for years to come. The streamlined rules, pre-generated character design, and the sample adventure would seem to indicate a real focus on featuring "role-playing" over "roll-playing", And as this new edition brings together mechanical elements from several past editions of D&D, it might have greater appeal to a wider cross-section of fans of this fantasy role-playing game.
The highlight of the starter set is the adventure, written by Richard Baker and I believe Chris Perkins. It's a bit of a sandbox, with a good hook and starting scenario that unleashes you on the rural areas around Phandelver on the Sword Coast. Each pre-generated character is tied directly into the story as well, making for a very good way for the players to buy in to the campaign.It's a good all around adventure, and one I like better in terms of tone and style than the larger Kobold produced adventures Hoard of the Dragon Queen and Rise of Tiamat. I feel like it fits in better with what 5th Edition is going for in terms of fun.The rules themselves are fine, though I am not sure of their quality when it comes to teaching new people the game. Unlike similar Starter Boxes, like Edge of the the Empire's Starter Kit, you can't simply open and start playing, but have to read through the books first. (A note, however, that the length of the adventure in this Starter Set is faaaar longer than EotE, which you can finish in a single short session). It still seems as if the best way to learn D&D is from someone who already plays, and I feel like this is a paradigm that really needs to shift. Despite me really liking this Starter Set, I still feel as if it has more use for someone who has Role Playing experience under their belt rather than someone completely new.
What this isn't: A basic version of D&D.It's some pre-gen characters, the essential rules of how to play, some dice, and an adventure. There's no character creation in the box.But the adventure, Lost Mine of Phandelver, is brilliant. It is packed full of detail and backstory, with lots of choice for the players in what they do and where they go. There are lots of great maps, and the NPCs are, for the most part, given detail and motivations. The encounters are varied, but also fit in with the lore of the area and the story. There is plenty of opportunity for roleplay as well, as most encounters can be handled without resorting to violence if the party so desire. It's a good length too - there's enough content for 6-8 average length sessions.Highly recommended for the adventure in the box.
Lost Mine of Phandelver is essentially the perfect first D&D adventure. It starts off simple with a dungeon adventure that shows off different aspects of the game, then moves into town and finally wilderness exploration. The pregenerated characters are exceptionally well-crafted and contain great story hooks to tie them into the adventure, and the dice are a nice bonus.The product's one flaw is that it doesn't contain that much advice for beginning D&D players - only a page or two at the start of the rulebook and the adventure. Aspiring players and DMs may want to investigate videos of the game being played or check out internet forums (like ENWorld) for advice and help answering their questions.Note finally that you'll almost certainly want to download the free basic D&D rules to go with this. They contain more detailed rules as well as everything you need to build your own characters.
I have now used the Starter Set with four different groups. The first was with 6 kids from our neighborhood, ages 7-12. I then ran it again for a group including a father and his 10 yr-old son. I've then run it in for two other groups of new players at stores. In all cases, the adventure and the rules were a huge hit!The intended audience is someone (whether experienced or new) that wants to get started right away with the new edition of D&D. The provided pregens and the rules behind them are simple, interesting, and encourage creativity. Players particularly like how the Bonds/Flaws/Ideals on the character sheets are woven into the adventure, helping create excellent interaction between the players and adventure. Advantage/Disadvantage really furthered play. It was an iconic D&D experience for both new and experienced players.The adventure is simple enough to run easily and for the young, new, or casual player to grasp. But, it is also a very well written adventure that fosters creative play and encourages a fun time. The village in the adventure is excellent - a distilled and improved version of Hommlet and other classic towns. The village and several of the locations could be lifted by talented DMs and placed into their own campaigns. Honestly, this adventure should become a classic, the same way that Hommlet is a classic experience.I would strongly recommend both the Starter Set and the 5E rules. Note: The Starter Set does not have character creation, but that's because those rules are provided for free on the Wizards web site.
I found this to be a great little starter set. It's not as elaborate as the Pathfinder Beginner Box, but it's inexpensive and perfectly designed as an impulse gift purchase. The 64-page adventure is one of the better introductory D&D adventures in recent years, and the short rules guide is more than enough to set you going with the provided pregenerated characters. No chargen rules included (but they're free online if you want them). Plus a set of dice!
Overall, the glimpse of 5th Edition from the Starter Set seems like a prepackaged set of earlier rules without showing all the math. I would have liked a set of miniatures as well as a map, but this edition consciously avoids both of those. In fact, the maps are available for printing or using on virtual table-tops, but you now have to pay for them.
A nice intro to the 5th edition of D&D, if not the "Holy Grail of Starter Sets" that we hoped for. I personally would have liked to see it go down one of two routes more completely: Either a more complete beginner's set with a guided adventure experience for novice DMs, and/or more in-depth rules for playing multiple levels akin to the old "Basic Set." But it is more of a middle ground. Great value for the price, though.
The 5th a Edition Dungeons & Dragons Starter Set does not try and raise the bar for a newbie product. It settles into the comfortable niche established by many other WotC starter products of the past. It is not exceptional but neither is it terrible. It’s better than other recent sets but doesn’t offer anything new. It’s firmly average.But… at the end of the day, a Starter Set lives and dies by how successful the adventure is in play and how easy it is to learn. And there are many, many reports of fun play sessions and first time players having a great time playing the set. It’s fun. That’s all you really need to know, and everything else is either a perk or nitpicking.
But it could be so much more. I like the fact that it's a boxed set, but the amount of content that's in said box leaves the purchaser a bit lacking in my mind. No maps of the area, even to facilitate theater of the mind, and no battle mats for those times when the minis get broken out. The scenario and starting characters are great, however, and give enough detail to get a group of people playing with little hesitation. Moving character creation details to the Basic PDF (or the PHB) is a great idea - get people playing and get them enjoying what the game offers without bogging them down in a character sheet with boxes to fill out. Makes people feel like doing their taxes. Minus a few quibbles about missing content, what's here is great and usable.
This is a very nice starter set.But what really makes it good is the adventure. Well worth it even if you do not want it as a starter.The pregens are tied nicely to the scenario, but you can easily run it with other characters as well.
The D&D Starter Set includes everything you need to begin playing - a rulebook, pre-generated characters, dice, and a starting adventure, Lost Mine of Phandelver. The only minus is that it doesn't allow you to create characters (use the Basic Rules or - better yet - the Player's Handbook for that), and it's lacking in examples and explanations for a few rules points. However, the quality of the adventure - each part of which covers a style of D&D adventure from the past - makes up for those flaws.
Great intro package with a fully fledged mini adventure path. Worth it for the adventures alone, which allow multiple paths through each section of the adventure and multiple ways through the middle sections to get from intro to finale adventure.
The D&D starter set is an excellent adventure that takes characters from 1st to 4th level and involves a sandbox style campaign with the players progressing through the plot as they visit the various locations. There's one or two locations that could be a little dangerous if the characters visit them too early on but a little careful guidance from the Dungeon Master should prevent any serious mishaps.
This edition brought me back into the fold and I've been running this starter set for a group of complete D&D newbs for the last few months. Yes, this starter set has provided enough content for months of gaming fun. At the current pace, it should provide enough content to last another month or so. All in all, we will have gotten 1/2 years worth of gaming from this one $12 (Amazon) box. That alone is worth a 5 star rating.At that price, I really can't see any flaws with the product. We've used Roll20.net to facilitate both at table and remote users for maps and character sheet tracking. It was simple enough to find digital maps to use in Roll20.Buy this as a gift for any gamer that could possibly be interested in tabletop RPGs. Include a printout of the free Basic D&D player and DM PDFs and you've likely set them down a path of a lifetime of gaming.
A few minor items slipped through the cracks. If you add the Player's Handbook and Monster Manuals, it can make this a little more complete. The encounters and options are well presented. It has enough of a plot train to pull characters along while still supplying a sandbox feel at times.