D&D 5E What Do You Not Like About The 2014 5E DMG?

Hussar

Legend
I'm sorry, I didn't realize that this was a + thread.

@Reynard - you asked a question - why don't I (and others) like the 2014 DMG.

You don't get to then turn around and declare everyone wrong with snide insinuations. Are you seriously claiming that the 2014 DMG is well organized? That it treats game issues as deeply as it could? That it's a necessary book at the table?

The reason no one reads the DMG is because it's largely pointless. No, the solutions to problems often aren't found in the DMG. At best the rules touch on things so lightly that they might as well not exist in the first place. That's the result of the whole "rulings not rules" mantra that went into the design of 5e. They couldn't actually go into any depth because they weren't allowed to.

The fact that you're a third of the way through the book before they even begin to describe how to create an adventure pretty much tells me everything. The fact that the adventure design section is whopping EIGHTEEN PAGES, while creating a multiverse is 25 pages tells me exactly where the priorities are.

To me, the 5e DMG is one of the worst DMG's ever written for D&D. It's maybe, maybe a bit better than the 1e DMG, simply because it's slightly less of a rambling mess and actually does get to the point from time to time.

Look, I get you like it. And that's fine. But, you asked me why I don't. I told you why I don't. Turning around and telling me that I'm just wrong isn't really going to convince me of anything.
 

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Except that it's buried somewhere in the bowels of the book and virtually impossible to find. Which makes the book largely pointless. People don't read the DMG because it's crammed full of crap that doesn't need to be there.

Why on earth is the planar stuff there? Who cares how things work on some random plane? It's virtually never going to come up in anyone's game. You want rules for sanity? Well, yup, there's a very bare bones system there that kinda, sorta works but, again, buried so deep in the book that good luck finding it.

You can defend the book all you like, but, at the end of the day, it's poorly organized, terribly written and full of completely superfluous material. The only reason people buy it is because the magic items are described there.
I cared a lot about the Planar stuff. 5E was my first full edition, and it gave me so much inspiration and ideas for how to make worlds outside of "Here's the Cave of Chaos, go have fun!!"

It is poorly organized, it is not terribly written, and the only real problems with it are a commitment to not providing any "how to play" advice at all, only "how to kinda' build." I'd rate it a 6-7/10.
 

Hussar

Legend
I cared a lot about the Planar stuff. 5E was my first full edition, and it gave me so much inspiration and ideas for how to make worlds outside of "Here's the Cave of Chaos, go have fun!!"

It is poorly organized, it is not terribly written, and the only real problems with it are a commitment to not providing any "how to play" advice at all, only "how to kinda' build." I'd rate it a 6-7/10.
Ok. Fair enough.

Now, in the last campaign you ran, how much did you actually use this material? I mean, as a percentage of the campaign?
I'm willing to bet dollars to donuts that if you asked ten DM's that question, most of them would say that the material appeared virtually nowhere in their campaigns. Maybe a tiny bit at the tail end, if the campaign managed to get into double digit levels. Otherwise? Not used at all. I mean, good grief, how many of the WOtC modules have actually used any of that material? Even something like Avernus only visits one plane, and has all the material for visiting that plane contained in that module.

Spelljammer? Barely mentions the astral.
 

Ok. Fair enough.

Now, in the last campaign you ran, how much did you actually use this material? I mean, as a percentage of the campaign?
I'm willing to bet dollars to donuts that if you asked ten DM's that question, most of them would say that the material appeared virtually nowhere in their campaigns. Maybe a tiny bit at the tail end, if the campaign managed to get into double digit levels. Otherwise? Not used at all. I mean, good grief, how many of the WOtC modules have actually used any of that material? Even something like Avernus only visits one plane, and has all the material for visiting that plane contained in that module.

Spelljammer? Barely mentions the astral.
I've used it a fair bit actually, I like to work in planar information a lot, and I've used MOST of the variant rules in the DMG.

Now, I think the DMG could be way, way better. I think the scant advice it does give needs to be revised (encounter days), I think it needs to talk more about what a session of play might look like, and I think the organization needs to be revised heavily. I also think it needs a sample setting. I hope 2024 manages to strike all of these points.

WotC materials barely use any rules, guidance, or ideas in the DMG.
 

Warpiglet-7

Satan’s Echo Chamber! Muhahahaha
Except every time someone complains about some play or rule element being ignored, it turns out it is totally addressed in the DMG. Every time.

People that don't read the DMG don't get to complain. RTFM.
Well yes, but….

I have long struggled with the DMG. It makes me feel like I have ADHD. So often I wonder about something and with effort find it’s there after previously missing it.

I have not had this problem to this degree with other DMG.

It might be the layout or ordering of things but I almost “look through them” only to seek them out and find them later.

When I first had this issue I put it all on me and was not so aware it was an issue others were having. Even the treasure and magic item table are not to my taste.

Its hard to put my finger on exactly what is going on but it has not been a pleasant book to use, even though as you say a lot that is there is…good.

When it is my turn to dm, I have copied and marked things but it’s just not as easy as it should be.

I am a 5e fan overall. I have no “5e sux! X edition rules!” Axe to grind, at all. If anything I am skeptical of the need for the new phb because what we have works but I have long said an easier to use DMG would be on a buy list for me even if I did not adopt the new edition.

Have I read the dmg? Yes; after a fashion. But in a very piecemeal unusual way…
 

TiQuinn

Registered User
Ok. Fair enough.

Now, in the last campaign you ran, how much did you actually use this material? I mean, as a percentage of the campaign?
I'm willing to bet dollars to donuts that if you asked ten DM's that question, most of them would say that the material appeared virtually nowhere in their campaigns. Maybe a tiny bit at the tail end, if the campaign managed to get into double digit levels. Otherwise? Not used at all. I mean, good grief, how many of the WOtC modules have actually used any of that material? Even something like Avernus only visits one plane, and has all the material for visiting that plane contained in that module.

Spelljammer? Barely mentions the astral.

I blame that on the decisions of WotC, and their lack of support for settings. Planescape should be a much bigger thing. Spelljammer could be a much bigger thing.
 


People mention how bad the 2014 DMG is (and then often reveal they have not actually read it) and I am curious why you, individually, don't like it.

I am a fan. I think it does its job pretty well, and I refer to it regularly when running 5E.

As a corollary, whatever your issues may be, what would you like to see the 2024 5E DMG to do to directly address those issues.
Like you, I thought it was really well done. I did not approach it as the eyes of a beginner though, so maybe that is why I liked it so much. I also (as a general rule) don't piecemeal read rulebooks. I read them once, cover to cover, then go back and reread sections that piqued my interest or sections I had a hard time getting my head completely around. The planar effects that @Quickleaf mentioned was one such section. So this statement comes with the caveat of - after reading it the way I do, here is what I would change:

  • Better index
  • Increase the styles of play to have a lot more alternative rules

That's it. Overall, I think the 2014 version did an awesome job of explaining concretely to DMs how to run a game, while at the same time, adding tons of creativity elements that spark imagination.

(PS - As a side note, and to the non-surprise of other posters on this forum, it is a pet-peeve of mine when people take a small section of any rulebook without putting it into context of the chapter/section and entire rulebook. I believe that is where almost all of the disagreements about wording come from. And it all boils down to someone looking something up online, as opposed to reading the entire section.)
 
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One last thing I would state about the new DMG which didn't fit with the discussion above:

Please for the love of god, they should not, under any circumstance, absolutely in no way, add more pages on player/DM interaction. Their one-page talk is all DMs and players need. If more is added, that will only (once again) flood the gate with people reading one line only and declaring to their table that this is the way to play.
 
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Except every time someone complains about some play or rule element being ignored, it turns out it is totally addressed in the DMG. Every time.
The problem is finding it. I have read the book fron to cover and still need to search for rules I need in one situation which are scattered all over the book.
People that don't read the DMG don't get to complain. RTFM.
People read it... and then give up. That is the problem with this book.
 

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