D&D 5E People don't read the 5E DMG for a reason

Whizbang Dustyboots

Gnometown Hero
The reason: It's the weakest of the core books.

It doesn't spend a lot of time teaching how to be a DM, but instead has a bunch of world-building advice.

It has a bunch of setting information (the most planar info we've gotten in 5E to date), while trying to be a tool for every table.

It has a bunch of magic items, although it's not terribly well organized (why are the weapons mixed in with everything else -- are there DMs who are equally likely, as a rule, to toss in a +1 longsword or jug of alchemy into a treasure?) but not enough information on how they can be made or sold. (I do like the double-page spread of ways to flavor magic items; I've used that a ton.)

Spell-creation advice essentially comes down to "you'll figure it out, champ," while the monster-building and player character species-building advice feels like it was created long before the math of 5E was finalized and isn't terribly helpful.

If 5E is supposed to be someone's first RPG, or even just their first game mastering experience, the DMG isn't the book for them to start with. (Return of the Lazy Dungeon Master is better, but even that is meant for an already experienced DM looking to detox a bit.) But it should be, since it's the resource new DMs are most likely to have.

The irony is that WotC's 4E DMGs were widely respected and looked back fondly upon. Surely some of that text could have been lifted wholesale, or made the model for what to put in the 5E DMG.

Here's hoping that the 1D&D DMG is recalibrated to be more than a resource for existing DMs (honestly, it reads like a bunch of Dragon articles, rather than a cohesive work, to me), but to actually be the textbook for new ones as well.
 

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jgsugden

Legend
While I agree that we need different material in the DMG - material that guides DMs in areas where many have weaknesses or uncertainty - I do think there is a lot of good material in the DMG that is worth reading that people ignore. I would more magic items to the PHB, I would move the planar materials and Gods to the Manual of the Planes - but there is other stuff worth keeping in the DMG that should work with training on storybuilding, encounter building, conflict resolution, and balance.
 

Tales and Chronicles

Jewel of the North, formerly know as vincegetorix
I think the game would benefit from 2 DM-focused books:

1) Stuff to throw at my players' faces: mix the MM (and a monster builder) with the encounter builder and evolving traps from Xanathar's, NPC reaction rules, puzzles, journey rules and magical terrain hazard from Tasha's and Saltmarsh.

2) The art of DMing: worldbuilding stuff, alternate rules, magic items (and a magic item builder) etc
 



I don’t think most people read the PHB or MM either. They’re all boring as pants, but useful when you want to know stuff like how Druids work or what Mind Flayers are like or what a staff of bird calls can do. Being way less essential, and pretty poorly organized, people just are less aware of what’s in there even if they own it Thereby giving the appearance of not reading it. Which they haven’t. But they didn’t read the other books either, they just appear more aware of what’s in them.

And to be fair, there’s no reason to read it, just ask what you want to know on the internet and someone will quote the relevant passage and provide some commentary on it for the privilege of also calling you an idiot for not reading the DMG. There’s a bunch of people who never tire of doing that, make use of them.
 




Whizbang Dustyboots

Gnometown Hero
I think the 1E DMG was better organized that the 5E version, even when part of it was off in UE.
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