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

Aldarc

Legend
Jeremy Crawford, Chris Perkins, and James Wyatt are the credited leads for the 5e DMG. They're all currently on the D&D design team, two of them in the most senior design positions for 1D&D. I wouldn't hold out much hope.
Wait til you see who the lead writer is for the 4e DMG that is getting so much praise. ;)

I suspect that there may have been an intentional design choice by WotC away from anything that 4e did, but in the process, like many things in the transition, threw the baby out with the bathwater. But thankfully retrospection and time is increasingly kinder to 4e's legacy and in recognizing the good things that 4e did.
 

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Minigiant

Legend
Supporter
I don't really understand why you claim that Phandelver is designed for veterans. It offers a simplified version of the rules, with pre-made characters, and constant tips for how to run encounters. I would say that it is a very good starter set, and it seems to have been very effective at bringing new players into the game, given that 5e has been flooded with new players and many of them started with it
I mean style. It's old school and teaches you how a person who prefers PRE3E would want to play.
 

The reason: It's the weakest of the core books.
No, the reason is it's massively boring.
It doesn't spend a lot of time teaching how to be a DM
There are lots of different ways to DM, which ones do you think the DMG should teach?

This is the subtext of people complaining about the DMG "not teaching": "People DM differently to me. This BadWrongFun must be stamped out!"
but instead has a bunch of world-building advice.
Good, this is useful. It's a shame it isn't better written to make it more interesting, but it's certainly the sort of thing that should be in.
It has a bunch of magic items, although it's not terribly well organized
All good stuff. And traditional for a book called The DMG. I agree it should be better organised.
the DMG isn't the book for them to start with.
It isn't intended to be. The free download basic rules is.
 

Aldarc

Legend
No, the reason is it's massively boring.
...resulting in it being the weakest core book. This does not need to be an either/or situation, and there is no need to be confrontational about this.

There are lots of different ways to DM, which ones do you think the DMG should teach?
The 4e DMG draws awarenes to multiple styles, including play preferences of players. This approach could be expanded further. It seems useful to cover many of the most popular styles, including the pros and cons of each. It need not be a massive treatise. Sometimes basic overviews of styles and highlighting some DMG rules options that may help cultivate said style are helpful enough for starting out.

This is the subtext of people complaining about the DMG "not teaching": "People DM differently to me. This BadWrongFun must be stamped out!"
I believe you got this all wrong, both explicit text and implicit subtext. It's definitely not in-character for @Whizbang Dustyboots. I don't think that the desire is to stamp out the "BadWrongFun." I think the ultimate desire is to increase the longterm pool of DMs in the hobby who are comfortable in the role.

When people complain about the DMG "not teaching," IMHO, it is more about wanting to help new DMs grow into the basics of running the game as the DM: e.g., role expectations, guidelines for prepping encounters and adventures, how to make rulings, DM principles, etc. It's about making sure that the new DM has some easy-to-reference guidelines they can fall back on. It's about easing new DMs into the role so they don't bite off more than they can chew when starting out. New DMs may discover what they and their groups find more fun later (e.g., grim 'n' gritty, epic heroes, adventures, sandboxes, etc.), but the aim of people advocating for improving the DMG as a tool for teaching new DMs is about providing them with a solid foundation for the role.

Good, this is useful. It's a shame it isn't better written to make it more interesting, but it's certainly the sort of thing that should be in.
Sure, but the point being made here is not that it shouldn't be in the book, but, rather, that it's so close to the start of the book before more pertinent sections. Again, the 4e DMG organizes the book as a funnel from the smaller basics to the bigger aspects, and ends by providing a sample setting and adventure to get the DM started. The World itself, however, is Chapter 9. Look at everything that the DMG conveys to the reader prior to getting to the point of detailing the world.

  • Chapter 1: How to be a DM
  • Chapter 2: Running the Game
  • Chapter 3: Combat Encounters
  • Chapter 4: Building Encounters
  • Chapter 5: Non-Combat Encounters
  • Chapter 6: Adventures
  • Chapter 7: Rewards
  • Chapter 8: Campaigns
* Chapter 9: The World
  • Chapter 10: The GM Toolbox
  • Chapter 11: Fallcrest & The Nentir Vale
 

I think the ultimate desire is to increase the longterm pool of DMs in the hobby who are comfortable in the role.
This is a ridiculous expectation. The reason there are not more DMs is not because it's difficult. It's not. The reason there are not more DMs is because it's a heck of a lot more work (and cost) than playing. And without changing the fundamental nature of the game (e.g. to be more like Blades in the Dark) there is absolutely nothing that can be done about that. If it was something that could be fixed it would have been fixed over thirty years ago.
the 4e DMG
Given that 4e is the only edition I completely bounced off, one thing I'm dead sure of is it is not a good way to present D&D.
 
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delericho

Legend
When I first read the 5e DMG I was hugely impressed by it - I was of the view that it was the best out of all the editions thus far (though that was damning with faint praise, as they're actually a fairly poor bunch).

However, in the eight years since then my opinion of the book has soured very considerably. Other than the treasure tables and the magic items, almost none of it ever sees use. And the bits that do see use aren't great either - some of them are horribly explained (making monsters), while some of them are the germ of an idea around which the DM needs to add more (the optional rules).

Also, FWIW, I wasn't at all impressed with the 4e DMG - it was filled with a whole load of obvious advice, was detailed where it needed to be general, and was horribly general where it needed to be detailed. Though it may have improved with age - I opted out of 4e so quickly I wouldn't know.
 

Aldarc

Legend
This is a ridiculous expectation. The reason there are not more DMs is not because it's difficult. It's not. The reason there are not more DMs is because it's a heck of a lot more work (and cost) than playing. And without changing the fundamental nature of the game (e.g. to be more like Blades in the Dark) there is absolutely nothing that can be done about that. If it was something that could be fixed it would have been fixed over thirty years ago.
I don't think that it's unreasonable to think that the DMG could be better written, laid out, and organized so it is more helpful for on-boarding inexperienced DMs. I am not speaking of Blades in the Dark here at all. There are IME other game master guides/sections in D&D-adjacent d20 games (e.g., SWN/WWN, Index Card RPG, OSE, etc.) that do a good job of on-boarding new GMs with good guidelines, instructions, and advice.

Given that 4e is the only edition I completely bounced off, one thing I'm dead sure of is it is not a good way to present D&D.
My pointing out the chapter layout of the 4e DMG is not an invitation for an edition war. There are many reasons why people may or may not bounce off TTRPGs. Saying that one bounced off a game neither speaks to why nor says anything to the the faults and virtues of a game nor does it address the argument presented.
 

I don't think that it's unreasonable to think that the DMG could be better written, laid out, and organized so it is more helpful for on-boarding inexperienced DMs.
Given that a major obstacle for new DMs is cost, I think the most important thing for onboarding new DMs is free material.

And, given that most students don't learn very well by reading a textbook, I think a multimedia approach would be more effective.
My pointing out the chapter layout of the 4e DMG is not an invitation for an edition war.
So far as I can tell, the 4e rules where fine. The problem was how they where communicated. So if you are putting forward 4e as an example of how D&D rules should be communicated, then I'm afraid an edition war is unavoidable.
 

Given that a major obstacle for new DMs is cost, I think the most important thing for onboarding new DMs is free material.

And, given that most students don't learn very well by reading a textbook, I think a multimedia approach would be more effective.
100% this.
I'm pretty tired with the calls of lets fill up the DMG with basic info when it should be free and IS now free on the internet anyways by most 3pp. WotC should be putting out videos on their website - it is 2023 already. People should really stop demanding that people pay to learn how to play this game. It is beyond ridiculous.
 


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