5.5E What do you want in the revised DMG?

Greggy C

Adventurer
Supporter
I think the new DMG should point players to use dndcombat.com to test their battles, and WOTC should pay to have to it finished :)

Because no CR system is useful when you can create a party of optimized bladesingers and warlock hexblades that can fight double what your default random party can fight.
 

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bennet

Explorer
As a new DM back in 2015 who had never ran before, the game was pretty hard to grok. I needed a lot of help from another community I found to really get a hand on it. How about we not try to condescendingly speak for all new age dms? For me, a better dmg would have helped a lot.
What is condescending? the 5.0 dmg? how?
 

Oofta

Legend
As a new DM back in 2015 who had never ran before, the game was pretty hard to grok. I needed a lot of help from another community I found to really get a hand on it. How about we not try to condescendingly speak for all new age dms? For me, a better dmg would have helped a lot.
I think it's going to vary a lot. Personally I get more from a video and hands-on than I ever will from a book.

Could the DMG be improved? Of course, everything can be improved. But there are plenty of resources out there now, far more than there used to be.

I'm not saying this to be condescending, I'm trying to understand what could help. The more DMs the better but I can't change what WOTC publishes. Is there any kind of advice or resources we can provide on a forum like this?
 

clearstream

(He, Him)
This isn't necessarily about the topic, but the responses did make me wonder if there was a correlation between folks who want more robust and concrete encounter creation rules and folks who do not like or refuse to fudge dice rolls and/or adjust encounters mid-fight?

It just seems like the people who would prefer not to "wing it" have a reason for not wanting to... and the idea that they do not want to adjust the encounter mid-encounter due to however they see the verisimilitude of the game to be, might be a strong reason for that? I dunno? It's just something I noticed and was curious about.
Relatedly, I moved to
  • ΣCR < Σlevels/2 = "Attritional" (easy to hard)
  • ΣCR > Σlevels/2 = "Lethal" (deadly)
  • Circa 3A + 1Lper long rest
  • 3-6 foes = x1.5 not x2, scale from there
  • In general, encounters with multiple types if foe are the most interesting
Simple rules if thumb that keep the game on an even keel, without stressing too much. Wounded foes can flee. Smart foes can go for the wizard. Rich foes can hire the party and get some payback. There's so much at play that power alone is a bad guide, and CR is only a very rough guide to power anyway.
 

Gustavo R

Villager
I want more math in the DMG:
1. Just basic tips for creating your world and campaigns. They can delve into this subject in online tools, like a monthly issue or something.
2. Understand the math behind the classes. If I need to create a class or a subclass, what's the math? How do balance them with each other?
3. Understand how to create races from scratch (example).
4. An easy system to create your monsters from scratch. The rules in Chapter 5 of the DMG are very complicated and not very intuitive. There must be a system to determine the CR of the monster (example).
5. Some sort of clear guidance for creating encounters.
6. More variable rules to play in "easy", "hard", and "very hard" modes.
7. Rules for creating your spells. Why do spells of the same level deal such different damage? How do balance them with each other? How do determine a spell's level?
8. How to calculate the rarity of a magic item?
9. Better Table of Contents and Summary.
10. Good graphic design (for some reason, the graphic design of the D&D books is frozen in time).
 

dave2008

Legend
Lots of good points, thank you for sharing. However, I do wonder about this one:
10. Good graphic design (for some reason, the graphic design of the D&D books is frozen in time).

How do you mean?

5e graphic design is different from 4e graphic design, which was different from 3e graphic design, which as different from 2e graphic design, which was different from 1e graphic design. So it is clearly not frozen in that sense.

Or, do you mean the 5e graphic design is outdated in some sense? If so, I will point you to 4e graphic design which was much more modern and fresh (and I liked a lot). However, it was rejected by a large portion of the community. So 5e is something between 3e and 4e. One needs to be careful with graphic design as if you are too contemporary it can quickly become dated design.

PS I am a designer myself and I quite like the graphic design of 5e. Just a reminder that "good" design is a bit subjective. I like 4e graphic design better overall, but 5e does feel more nostalgic and that is important for sales of D&D
 

Gustavo R

Villager
How do you mean?

5e graphic design is different from 4e graphic design, which was different from 3e graphic design, which as different from 2e graphic design, which was different from 1e graphic design. So it is clearly not frozen in that sense.

Or, do you mean the 5e graphic design is outdated in some sense? If so, I will point you to 4e graphic design which was much more modern and fresh (and I liked a lot). However, it was rejected by a large portion of the community. So 5e is something between 3e and 4e. One needs to be careful with graphic design as if you are too contemporary it can quickly become dated design.

PS I am a designer myself and I quite like the graphic design of 5e. Just a reminder that "good" design is a bit subjective. I like 4e graphic design better overall, but 5e does feel more nostalgic and that is important for sales of D&D

Thank you!
Yes, I mean the 5e books have an outdated graphic design. I understand they were trying to create the feel of a classic D&D book, but from the game point of view, there are a lot of visual tricks that can make the book better. It doesn't have to be visually modern, but it does need to be functional. Some examples:

Put different colours on the borders to help us to find chapters quickly (example).
Pathfinder 2E uses blue for titles and red for subtitles. Simple and elegant. Another thing is to highlight tiers. For instance, in the PHB, in the classes, the level of each trait needs to be highlighted. Sometimes it can be more difficult to figure out which trait is 3rd level and which is 11th level.
Bullet points can be coloured to separate them from the text.
Sometimes you need to read a long paragraph to figure out what a spell or magic item does. These books are mostly used when you are playing or want to consult something. It's important to organize it better. The easy way to do this is to put important information in bold. Spells must have an "Effect" paraphyly tath stands out from the rest (as is already done with the artefacts). It doesn't have to be video gaming like 4e, but 4e was definitely more organized them 5e, IMO.
For a game, D&D lacks visual ways to explain the rules, such as flowcharts and less "boring" tables (another example). Different thickness in the lines, different shades in the colours, different colours, inverted colours (white text on dark background) in the head... all these can help to find information faster in a table.

Good references:
Grim Hollow - Players Guide
Symbaroum (all books)
The World of the Witcher

PS: I apologize in advance for my English. :)
 

ART!

Legend
Thank you!
Yes, I mean the 5e books have an outdated graphic design. I understand they were trying to create the feel of a classic D&D book, but from the game point of view, there are a lot of visual tricks that can make the book better. It doesn't have to be visually modern, but it does need to be functional. Some examples:

Put different colours on the borders to help us to find chapters quickly (example).
I see what you mean about the colors guiding the eye, and I agree. The one caveat is that it's easy to get into too many colors, which can be visually confusing. It's a bit of tightrope.
For a game, D&D lacks visual ways to explain the rules, such as flowcharts
Yeah, red is always a good idea for getting things to stand out, and I like the simplicity of those progressions. You also have to be careful about having too much of that on a page. Some of the best design advice I ever heard was "highlighting everything is the same as highlighting nothing". :D
and less "boring" tables (another example). Different thickness in the lines, different shades in the colours, different colours, inverted colours (white text on dark background) in the head... all these can help to find information faster in a table.
All of those are good ways to distinguish one type of information from another, both within a single table but throughout the book in general. For instance, a race-related sidebar could have the same background as the color used on the edge of the pages in the race chapter.
Good references:
Grim Hollow - Players Guide
Symbaroum (all books)
The World of the Witcher

PS: I apologize in advance for my English. :)
Your English seems fine to me!
That Grim Hollow book looks almost exactly like a WOTC 5E book to me, but I do like the look of that timeline in the Symbaroum sample. The Witcher book is really neat-looking, and it's distinctly more image-focused than any 5E book. As a very visual person, I'm down with that, and in the world we live in maybe that's a better approach?
 

Lakesidefantasy

Adventurer
I like the 5e books a lot. I particularly like the bolded word or phrase with a period to start a description of an ability or feature, and I love the art getting away from dungeonpunk.

I do get confused when subheadings are underlined, and I do wish the page numbers were darker.
 

dave2008

Legend
Thank you!
Yes, I mean the 5e books have an outdated graphic design. I understand they were trying to create the feel of a classic D&D book, but from the game point of view, there are a lot of visual tricks that can make the book better. It doesn't have to be visually modern, but it does need to be functional. Some examples:

Put different colours on the borders to help us to find chapters quickly (example).
Pathfinder 2E uses blue for titles and red for subtitles. Simple and elegant. Another thing is to highlight tiers. For instance, in the PHB, in the classes, the level of each trait needs to be highlighted. Sometimes it can be more difficult to figure out which trait is 3rd level and which is 11th level.
Bullet points can be coloured to separate them from the text.
Sometimes you need to read a long paragraph to figure out what a spell or magic item does. These books are mostly used when you are playing or want to consult something. It's important to organize it better. The easy way to do this is to put important information in bold. Spells must have an "Effect" paraphyly tath stands out from the rest (as is already done with the artefacts). It doesn't have to be video gaming like 4e, but 4e was definitely more organized them 5e, IMO.
For a game, D&D lacks visual ways to explain the rules, such as flowcharts and less "boring" tables (another example). Different thickness in the lines, different shades in the colours, different colours, inverted colours (white text on dark background) in the head... all these can help to find information faster in a table.

Good references:
Grim Hollow - Players Guide
Symbaroum (all books)
The World of the Witcher

PS: I apologize in advance for my English. :)
Thank you for the detailed reply. I don't disagree with your comments, but I also don't think it is that big of a deal. Like I said I preferred the 4e graphic design (and I didn't think it was video-gamey, but I don't play video games, so...) which had a lot of what you discuss - but it didn't sell.

I will say I quickly looked at your Grim World and Witcher links you provided they look remarkably similar to 5e graphic design to my eye (again on a quick pass). Maybe I would need to have physical copies to really appreciate the difference.

EDIT: I looked at the 3rd link now and I am not really seeing the improvement over WotC 5e products. On a very cursory review I like the WotC 5e graphic design as much or more the examples you provided. But l reserve the right to change that opinion if I get a chance to look at physical copies of the books.

PS - I had no idea your were a non-native English speaker, It was all good IMO.
 
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I think the new DMG should point players to use dndcombat.com to test their battles, and WOTC should pay to have to it finished :)

Because no CR system is useful when you can create a party of optimized bladesingers and warlock hexblades that can fight double what your default random party can fight.
I just tried using dndcombat and the party wizard kept fireballing the party lmao.
 

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