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D&D General The DM Shortage

Zardnaar

Legend
How are they finding the PHB and DMG ex nihilo? (Googling? Asking someone who already plays? YouTube? Specialty game store? Game section of one of the few remaining big book stores?)

Store shelf, bookstore etc. Hell I've seen them in video game store.

On Saturday in a bookstore they're near the counter close to the Warhammer stuff.
 

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Cadence

Legend
Supporter
Personally, I don't think those basic 5e rules are very complicated. The actual "rules" section of the basic rules are about 25 pages, and even skimming there are a lot of things that won't really come up in play. About 60 pages are given over to spell descriptions and monsters. The game is complex because of its exception-based design. Things work one way unless you have a special ability or a spell, that then interacts with this other ability to produce this unexpected effect, etc.

But it's interesting because the "dm tools" consist in monster statblocks, a short selection of misc random items, and rules for building "balanced" encounters. For how sparse the rules are, and for how much they lean on DM adjudication, you'd expect maybe 10-20 or so pages of general dm advice plus scenario-building procedures. It's also absurd that the basic rules purport to cover levels 1-20. Is anyone playing 20th level 5e with just the basic rules?
I wonder what they could do if they spliced together the starter set rules (that they also have on their site for free) with the basic 5e ones, and aimed for just like level 5 or 8 or something.
 



Cadence

Legend
Supporter
Store shelf, bookstore etc. Hell I've seen them in video game store.

On Saturday in a bookstore they're near the counter close to the Warhammer stuff.

I want to say the starter set boxes are more omnipresent at Target and Walmart here, but I'll have to check next time. In the states the consolidation of book and toy stores have left us pretty devastated in terms of that (Toys'R Us is gone, and not many Barnes and Nobles left). I'm not sure what GameStop has.

It certainly isn't like when I was growing up and every mall had a toy store and at least one book store, and most of them had them right up front :-(
 

There's another parsimonious, Occam's razor-favoring interpretation of the discrepancy between 5e and the OSR "DM crisis", although it's not going to be a popular one, especially with OSR players. Maybe there's tons of DMs in the OSR and not in 5e because nobody (not literally, but relatively) wants to play OSR games, so all the people who want to DM them can't find players, who are looking for something else to play. Personally, before people resort to some other explanation, I think that null hypothesis needs to be falsified. And "everybody in my group loves OSR games" doesn't falsify a null hypothesis.
 

Zardnaar

Legend
I want to say the starter set boxes are more omnipresent at Target and Walmart here, but I'll have to check next time. In the states the consolidation of book and toy stores have left us pretty devastated in terms of that (Toys'R Us is gone, and not many Barnes and Nobles left). I'm not sure what GameStop has.

It certainly isn't like when I was growing up and every mall had a toy store and at least one book store, and most of them had them right up front :-(

I hardly ever go shopping in town I got dragged out last week kicking and screaming to do Christmas shopping.

Basically if I wanted coffee and breakfast I had to go Christmas shopping bah humbug.
 

overgeeked

B/X Known World
Imagine how short it could be with only 3 levels of features, spells, and monsters (or even 14).
As presented, those "basic" rules are 180 pages. You wouldn't lose much by cutting down the levels.

On the cleric you'd only save 2 or 5 paragraphs by stopping at 14th or 3rd, respectively. So somewhere between 1/4 and 1/2 a page. For the fighter you'd save 7 paragraphs by cutting things down to 3rd level...which is about 1/2 a page. The rogue, 11 paragraphs, so somewhere between 1/2 and a full page. The wizard saves about 11 paragraphs if the basic rules are cut down to 3rd level and saves 4 paragraphs if cut down to 14th level.

Spells you'd lose pages. At 3rd level you can cast 2nd-level spells, at 14th level you can cast 7th-level spells. You'd save about 12 1/2 pages if the game stopped at 3rd level. You'd save a few pages by stopping at 14th level as there's only 16 spells of 8th or 9th level...being generous let's say that's 5 pages.

Monsters are iffy at best. It depends on how the referee runs things. Do you need a CR17 dragon if your PCs can only go to 3rd level? Yes, because dragons still exist in the world regardless of the PCs' level. No, because at that point dragons are a plot point rather than a creature to fight.

So these "basic" rules would be about 164 1/2 pages long if they only went to 3rd level. So a total savings of 15 1/2 pages. Wow. That's so much shorter.
 

There's another parsimonious, Occam's razor-favoring interpretation of the discrepancy between 5e and the OSR "DM crisis", although it's not going to be a popular one, especially with OSR players. Maybe there's tons of DMs in the OSR and not in 5e because nobody (not literally, but relatively) wants to play OSR games, so all the people who want to DM them can't find players, who are looking for something else to play. Personally, before people resort to some other explanation, I think that null hypothesis needs to be falsified. And "everybody in my group loves OSR games" doesn't falsify a null hypothesis.
This could be solved if OSR groups invested into public relations and marketing themselves!
 


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