D&D 5E In Search Of: The 5e Dungeon Master's Guide

FrogReaver

As long as i get to be the frog

Is it perfect? No but it's a damn sight better than anything WotC or for that matter, White Wolf or Paizo have ever published regarding game mastering. And look - it's only 32 pages! You could easily contain all of that within the DMG. And I know some people love to say "prescriptive", which, frankly is being used as a meaningless buzzword, and quite politically rather than helpfully, but by no means is his book "prescriptive" (unless the 5E DMG is drastically more "prescriptive"). It's just a great example of what an actually-good book on DMing can look like, and how extremely small it can be!

I'd be interested in reading a few exerpts of info not presented in the 5e DMG that is presented in that book so I can make a better judgement for myself.

I'm not advocating for shrinking the DMG, note, I'm just saying, containing everything you need to get a good start on DMing can probably be done by a skilled writer on the subject in 32 pages. And given it's from 2003, I'm sure it could be improved upon.

I'm curious what kinds of topics those 32 pages would cover that the current 5e DMG doesn't. Can you elaborate any?
 

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I'm curious what kinds of topics those 32 pages would cover that the current 5e DMG doesn't. Can you elaborate any?
A lot of it covers several the same topics as the 5E DMG (campaign design, adventure design) as well as some others the DMG barely touches or ignores, like how prepare to be spontaneous, how to improvise, how to deal with common issues, and so on. The actual art of DMing. It also covers picking a rules system (briefly), which would obviously not be needed.

Where the same topics are covered, the difference is that it covers them well, and it covers them succinctly, where the current DMG covers them extremely poorly, despite covering them in a lengthy-but-superficial way.

The 5E DMG is like one of my typical posts, or as Mark Twain said "I didn't have time to write you a short letter, so I wrote you a long one.". The whole central problem with the 5E DMG is that it's obviously rushed, disorganised, and has no clear guiding principles behind it - not even teaching people how to DM.
 

Mort

Legend
Supporter
Agreed. A Search function would dramatically improve the DMG.
Wait.. what?

You joke, But:

1. For a refence book it WOULD be a great resource. 1 reason why, forgetting anything else, better organization and an actually GOOD index would dramatically improve the DMG.

2. DND Beyond allows for a search function but is INCREDIBLY frustrating. you have to find the right section (with little help) and THEN search within that section which means you may get nothing at all. Or you have to do a broad search across all DnDbeyond which leaves you sifting through way too much stuff. After a huge amount of use, I'm finally at the point where if I need to find something, I can do so fairly quickly. But the effort getting there was way too much!
 

Voadam

Legend
You joke, But:

1. For a refence book it WOULD be a great resource. 1 reason why, forgetting anything else, better organization and an actually GOOD index would dramatically improve the DMG.

2. DND Beyond allows for a search function but is INCREDIBLY frustrating. you have to find the right section (with little help) and THEN search within that section which means you may get nothing at all. Or you have to do a broad search across all DnDbeyond which leaves you sifting through way too much stuff. After a huge amount of use, I'm finally at the point where if I need to find something, I can do so fairly quickly. But the effort getting there was way too much!
I find that searching an OCR pdf is a very useful tool in getting relevant information quickly. Comprehensive linked online SRDs can also be useful in a table of contents/Index sort of function, but unfortunately 5e has a less than comprehensive listing of core book information in its SRD. The pathfinder 1e srd and lack of anything comparable for 4e was a big reason I stuck with pathfinder well into the 4e era while I had gone from 3e to 3.5 and from 3.5 to Pathfinder fairly immediately.
 

Bluebell

Explorer
I'll be honest here, as a veteran player (old school nerd), I have trouble evaluating the value of starter sets. For most games, the starter sets I've purchased have been rather disappointing. The ones I've found value in, like the Alien starter set from Free League, game with peripherals or an adventure that made the game well worth the cost to me. But for some others, and I'm drawing a blank now, I feel like it was a waste of my money. But as a veteran player (old school nerd), I have to consider that a starter set might be of greater value to a newer player.

Folks, do you all find the various D&D starter sets to be a good deal?
Well I can tell you what it was like starting with 5e alongside a group made up of other relative newbies: if I pick up a book called the Player's Handbook from the local gaming shop, because that's by far the most common book they would have on the shelf, I expect it to be a handbook that guides players, not to be told that I should have tracked down a totally different set of books to buy instead because I'm not advanced enough for the literal handbook yet. I'm sure there's value in the starter set but... a core rulebook (THE core rulebook) should be intuitive enough that a brand new group of players and DM can pick them up and figure the bulk of it out together without relying on unofficial sources.

I agree with a lot of what's already been said here, though. It's less a problem of the information itself and more of how poorly organized and presented that information is. Wizards needs a good editor.
 

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