5E Where are the PDFs?

Bugleyman

Villager
I bought the PHB. I'll probably scan it at some point for my own use because frankly I don't like printed media now that I'm used to reading nearly everything electronically.
I'm going to have to do the same. Which means WotC's refusal to sell 5E PDFs has accomplished exactly two things:

1. Inconveniencing me; and
2. Depriving them of revenue.

That definitely sounds like the optimal outcome. :hmm:
 
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Jer

Adventurer
I'm going to have to do the same. Which means WotC's refusal to sell 5E PDFs has accomplished exactly two things:

1. Inconveniencing me; and
2. Depriving them of revenue.

That definitely sounds like the optimal outcome. :hmm:
Actually if you purchased a PHB that you're going to scan, then they haven't been deprived of revenue at all. They got their cut on the $50 or whatever-discounted-price-you-paid-for-the-book. Right now this is probably Wizard's best-case scenario since they got you to buy the book.

They've lost out on some additional revenue that they could have had had they offered a PDF, but even there its an open question. You might have only purchased the PDF, in which case they would have lost the revenue from your book purchase. If the price on the PDF was discounted their cut might have been a smaller cut than they make on the books. Plus now you have to get into non-monetary judgements about the decision - do you piss off your distributors and retailers by offering a reduced cost digital version of your book? Or do you offer it at full price know that it will just outrage your customers that you're charging the same price for the PDF that you do for the book? It may be more than just "pissing them off" too - they have long-standing relationships with distributors, and those relationships have contractual obligations. We have no clue what they've agreed to to get favorable treatment from their distributors. And this is all before we get into whatever is in the contract that Wizards has with Trapdoor and how digital content is going to be distributed through them for their Dungeonscape app - which probably muddies up the waters even more. And make no mistake - if Wizards offered up a digital version of this book Amazon would force a discount on them - one unfavorable to Wizards and using hardball tactics on their novel line to get it as deep as they want it.

It's not easy to tell what the gains and losses come with offering a digital version for these books. Overall I'd prefer to see digital versions offered, but I'm not going to pretend that it isn't a minefield for Wizards and I can understand how they might want to take it slow, especially for the first year of a rollout.
 

Bugleyman

Villager
Actually if you purchased a PHB that you're going to scan, then they haven't been deprived of revenue at all. They got their cut on the $50 or whatever-discounted-price-you-paid-for-the-book. Right now this is probably Wizard's best-case scenario since they got you to buy the book.

They've lost out on some additional revenue that they could have had had they offered a PDF, but even there its an open question. You might have only purchased the PDF, in which case they would have lost the revenue from your book purchase. If the price on the PDF was discounted their cut might have been a smaller cut than they make on the books. Plus now you have to get into non-monetary judgements about the decision - do you piss off your distributors and retailers by offering a reduced cost digital version of your book? Or do you offer it at full price know that it will just outrage your customers that you're charging the same price for the PDF that you do for the book? It may be more than just "pissing them off" too - they have long-standing relationships with distributors, and those relationships have contractual obligations. We have no clue what they've agreed to to get favorable treatment from their distributors. And this is all before we get into whatever is in the contract that Wizards has with Trapdoor and how digital content is going to be distributed through them for their Dungeonscape app - which probably muddies up the waters even more. And make no mistake - if Wizards offered up a digital version of this book Amazon would force a discount on them - one unfavorable to Wizards and using hardball tactics on their novel line to get it as deep as they want it.

It's not easy to tell what the gains and losses come with offering a digital version for these books. Overall I'd prefer to see digital versions offered, but I'm not going to pretend that it isn't a minefield for Wizards and I can understand how they might want to take it slow, especially for the first year of a rollout.
I've purchase two copies of the PHB; one for myself and one for my wife. And while I obviously can't speak for anyone else, I would absolutely also buy a PDF copy; I find PDFs and hard copy to be supplementary goods, not substitute goods. For example, I own 13th Age, C&C, Pathfinder, Fate Core, and Savage Worlds, in both hard copy and PDF. I also bought the 4E PHB in both hard copy and PDF, though I don't think I still have the book. That said, that preference applies only to the core rules. Supplements -- if I pick those up at all -- usually get purchased in PDF.

So in my case, they have absolutely inconvenienced me and cost themselves revenue. Whether or not that holds true across the market as a whole -- which I believe it does, based on my (admittedly anecdotal) observations -- is certainly subject to reasonable debate.
 
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Umbran

Mod Squad
Staff member
So in my case, they have absolutely inconvenienced me and cost themselves revenue.
Have they? Are you saying that, having scanned it yourself, if at a later date they put out a well-indexed pdf with a format more suited to the screen than simple image scans could be, you wouldn't buy it?

If you will be a customer for it later, they've not lost revenue. They've only delayed it. And that is often a part of good strategy - sometimes you want mo maximize revenue in the short term, and sometimes you want to maximize the long-term stream. You, as a consumer, may be, "I want it Now, now, now!!!1!" but as a producer, their plan may call for deferring income for a little while.
 

Bugleyman

Villager
Have they? Are you saying that, having scanned it yourself, if at a later date they put out a well-indexed pdf with a format more suited to the screen than simple image scans could be, you wouldn't buy it?

If you will be a customer for it later, they've not lost revenue. They've only delayed it. And that is often a part of good strategy - sometimes you want mo maximize revenue in the short term, and sometimes you want to maximize the long-term stream. You, as a consumer, may be, "I want it Now, now, now!!!1!" but as a producer, their plan may call for deferring income for a little while.
First, re-framing my desire for PDFs so as to make it appear infantile is a pretty underhanded tactic. :mad:

Second, I absolutely won't buy a PDF after I go to the considerable effort of creating my own -- at that point, it's a matter of principle. But if you really wanted to argue that I'm lying or mistaken about my own behavior...well, that's a thing that you could do.
 
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Echohawk

Shirokinukatsukami fan
Yes I want PDFs. I also believe not offering PDFs is a huge mistake. Finally, I believe that the failure to produce the products customers demand is indicative of an ongoing leadership failure at WotC, especially in a market where PDFs are the industry norm. You're free to disagree with my position, of course, but please don't dismiss distort what I'm saying.
I don't think I distorted what you said, and I certainly did not intend to do so. In your original post you wrote:
Failing to release PDFs is a misguided, fear-driven decision
Perhaps you didn't mean that to sound as if you think WotC is making a bad business decision, but if you didn't mean that, then I'm honestly not sure what you did mean.

I don't think there is any evidence that WotC is making a "misguided, fear-driven decision". For all we know, they've crunched the numbers, and are making an informed, fact-driven decision. We simply have insufficient evidence either way.

I totally understand that you are upset that you cannot buy a PDF. I also accept that you are not the only person who feels that way. WotC are clearly alienating at least some customers by not offering PDFs at the same time as print. (For the record, I would also very much like to buy PDFs.)

However, it still strikes me that in stating "failing to release PDFs is a misguided, fear-driven decision", you are ascribing motivations for WotC's business decisions that you cannot possibly know to be true.

So, while I certainly would never seek to stop you from expressing your opinion on this matter, I am afraid that I am dismissing at least that part of your post as entirely unsupported by any facts.

I hope it doesn't come across as unreasonable of me to share your unhappiness at the unavailability of PDFs whilst simultaneously disagreeing with the motivations you are ascribing to WotC for that decision.
 

Umbran

Mod Squad
Staff member
Second, I absolutely won't buy a PDF after I go to the considerable effort of creating my own -- at that point, it's a matter of principle.
What principle would that be?

But if you really wanted to argue that I'm lying or mistaken about my own behavior...well, that's a thing that you could do.
Nothing of the sort was intended. It was not clear to me that the longer term had really been considered, so I did the stunningly original thing of *asking* what you'd do, rather than assuming. I know, online, that's not often seen, but I am occasionally unconventional :)
 

Bugleyman

Villager
What principle would that be?
Not paying for something I've already done myself?

Nothing of the sort was intended. It was not clear to me that the longer term had really been considered, so I did the stunningly original thing of *asking* what you'd do, rather than assuming. I know, online, that's not often seen, but I am occasionally unconventional :)
I realize you didn't...it's just that's where things typically go next.
 

Bugleyman

Villager
I don't think I distorted what you said, and I certainly did not intend to do so. In your original post you wrote:


Perhaps you didn't mean that to sound as if you think WotC is making a bad business decision, but if you didn't mean that, then I'm honestly not sure what you did mean.

I don't think there is any evidence that WotC is making a "misguided, fear-driven decision". For all we know, they've crunched the numbers, and are making an informed, fact-driven decision. We simply have insufficient evidence either way.

I totally understand that you are upset that you cannot buy a PDF. I also accept that you are not the only person who feels that way. WotC are clearly alienating at least some customers by not offering PDFs at the same time as print. (For the record, I would also very much like to buy PDFs.)

However, it still strikes me that in stating "failing to release PDFs is a misguided, fear-driven decision", you are ascribing motivations for WotC's business decisions that you cannot possibly know to be true.

So, while I certainly would never seek to stop you from expressing your opinion on this matter, I am afraid that I am dismissing at least that part of your post as entirely unsupported by any facts.

I hope it doesn't come across as unreasonable of me to share your unhappiness at the unavailability of PDFs whilst simultaneously disagreeing with the motivations you are ascribing to WotC for that decision.
I absolutely feel WotC is making a terrible business decision. Further, given the circumstances under which they pulled the 4E PDFs, I do believe it to be driven by the misguided belief that not selling PDFs will somehow curb piracy. Can I absolutely prove that? Of course not.

The thing is, this isn't simply a case of me not getting the PDFs I want. I love D&D. I want it to succeed. I don't want to see 5E mismanaged into an early grave like 4E was. In my opinion, this sort of decision does not bode well on that front.
 

sunshadow21

Villager
I absolutely feel WotC is making a terrible business decision.
I would have to disagree with this only because I see this and a great many other choices they have made thus far as not making any decisions at all. The more I see of this rollout, the more I have to wonder how much faith they actually had in the core books doing well. No PDFs is just one aspect of the greater paralysis that seems to be prevalent in almost all of their product offerings beyond the core books and the basic rules pdf. So I don't see the No PDF thing by itself the problem; the root problem seems to be that they didn't seem to be willing to firmly plan anything else at all until they knew how well the core books did. I guess I can understand their reluctance after 4E, but I have to wonder if they aren't perhaps being a bit too cautious this time around. We'll just have to wait and see how this app works out and how they fit PDFs into the greater plan now that they actually have to think about the greater plan.
 

pkt77242

Explorer
Only that isn't what I did. I expressed my personal desire, and then went on to explain why I think it is ALSO a mistake. The argument that "only WotC as sufficient information to make a correct decision" is patently false. First, no one has perfect information. Second, they clearly got 4E wrong; by your logic, that shouldn't have happened (Frankly, if you study business a bit, you may come to be amazed at just how often big companies make glaringly obvious missteps. I know I was).

Yes I want PDFs. I also believe not offering PDFs is a huge mistake. Finally, I believe that the failure to produce the products customers demand is indicative of an ongoing leadership failure at WotC, especially in a market where PDFs are the industry norm. You're free to disagree with my position, of course, but please don't dismiss distort what I'm saying.
Just because PDFs are the industry norm doesn't mean that they are right for WoTC. That is the equivalent of saying that Apple needs to do what every other company does in the tablet market. The truth is that many smaller companies do PDFs because it is cheaper for them (especially on upfront costs) and consumers are more likely to buy an item when it is less expensive (thus hopefully increasing their sales). D&D doesn't have that issue for the PHB, as most people will buy it in book form even if they prefer PDF. You are also making an assumption that there is enough market demand for PDFs (and not just wanting them but actually paying for them) to justify putting them out right now. While I agree with you points that many large companies routinely make mistakes (and some that are painfully obvious) and that no one has perfect information, I think that you are trying to say that WoTC is making a mistake with extremely limited information (practically zero) and by doing that you look like the person making a mistake. It is one thing to wonder why they aren't doing it but it and maybe even wonder if it might be a mistake in the long run but to flat out say that it is a mistake and that it is a failure of leadership when you have little to no information is mind boggling.
 

Steel_Wind

Adventurer
The OP is making some unsupported leaps of logic to conclude that not offering PDFs at this stage is a bad business decision on WotC's part. Nobody except WotC has sufficient information to be able to assess that.

Short version: The OP does not have sufficient information to know whether WotC offering simultaneous print/PDF releases is a good business decision. Jumping to that conclusion based on a personal desire to have a legal PDF does not make it true.
I must dissent from this view. If a customer is not in possession of that information, I expect that WotC is not in possession of all those "facts" either.

Still, for whatever reason(s), they have decided to not do it. We might fairly observe that:


  • Paizo sells .PDFs of their hardcovers for $9.99
  • Paizo otherwise bundles PDFs for all subscription products with a subscription; and
  • Paizo makes all of their core rules and rules expansions available online via the PRD.


Despite these heretical practices, Paizo seems to be selling a lot of print product -- and PDFs, too.

I think the major differences at play here are:



  • Different corporate cultures between WotC and Paizo;
  • Different relations with their retailers.


In this regard, there are more than a few hobby games retailers which increasingly view Paizo not as a partner but as a direct competitor. Those retailers do not like not being able to sell Paizo PDFs to their customers and very much resent that perk that Paizo provides gamers who buy directly from Paizo. The business relationship retailers have with Paizo has evolved over time, but I think it is fair that what was not always seen as a big deal is becoming an increasingly sore point with many retailers as time has marched on and product lines have expanded.

At the same time, WotC's principal business is selling Magic: The Gathering and FNM's in store OP program. That is the core of their business and beside that weighty entry on the balance sheet, every RPG $$ earned in the marketplace from every company, combined, is a mere footnote.

For WotC to re-antagonize their retailers by selling directly to their customers is something that WotC simply does not want to do -- and was a practice for which they were harshly criticized as part of 4E's online subscriptions. WotC "gets it" I think.

That doesn't mean that this is convenient for D&D players or for the D&D brand manager. But it may well mean that it is preferable for WotC's principal business, CCGs, which is obscenely profitable.

So there are other factors in play here other than the piracy issue. That probably is a significant factor, but it is not the only one.

Which leaves us with Captain Obvious: if you want a .PDF, my guess is you will have one pretty fast anyway.
 
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sunshadow21

Villager
WotC has always insisted on being different from the rest of the gaming publishers, so I'm not surprised that they aren't immediately embracing PDFs. Starting with the OGL, it was pretty obvious that they never wanted themselves or the brand to be restricted to the game itself, so they have always done things that most of the industry would consider odd. With the OGL, it worked, sorta, at least for the industry as a whole, and even for WotC itself until they tried to fight their own creation. Their attempts to break the mold in 4E were equally mediocre in their success; DDI brought in a steady revenue, but created other difficulties in the process, and most of the promised tools never came about. I expect mostly the same kind of results this time around, at least in terms of PDFs and other electronic tools. WotC will continue to fight PDFs for many reasons, most of which will only ever be understood by WotC itself, and the alternatives they provide will please some people while creating hassles and roadblocks that keep a fair number of others from bothering with it. The one thing that WotC has consistently ignored about PDFs that limits the overall success of any alternatives is the simplicity of the concept. It's a book in electronic format, nothing more and nothing less. They keep trying to create something that is more than that, and have even had at least some limited success in making something a fair number of people like, but they don't seem to understand that sometimes the simplest solution is the best. Even the new app is going to be more than many people really need or want, limiting it's overall appeal.
 

sunshadow21

Villager
In this regard, there are more than a few hobby games retailers which increasingly view Paizo not as a partner but as a direct competitor. Those retailers do not like not being able to sell Paizo PDFs to their customers and very much resent that perk that Paizo provides gamers who buy directly from Paizo. The business relationship retailers have with Paizo has evolved over time, but I think it is fair that what was not always seen as a big deal is becoming an increasingly sore point with many retailers as time has marched on and product lines have expanded.
That's an interesting point, and one that will definitely be interesting to see evolve over time. So far, I think that a challenge over PDF sales has been largely balanced by a very active organized play system that gets players into to the stores, but I can definitely see how it could become a major point of contention in those places where Paizo has been unable to offer anything as a counterbalance. Your point about WotC relying on Magic sales is key here. The key isn't whether or not the publisher is making direct sales that actively compete with a game store, but rather how well the different publishers get gamers into the the stores routinely. Paizo has been reasonably proactive about the getting people into the stores, so while the PDF thing is something that I'm sure both sides would like to find more common ground on, it's not a breaking point; game stores have to be a bit creative, but they can work around it. WotC does a similarly good job for Magic and did a good job for 3rd edition; it's hard to say exactly what drove the complaints about their 4E subscription model, but given that they coincided with a general breakdown in organized play support, I suspect that the two are not unrelated. So, in the end, PDFs are really just part of a greater picture. They are a sore point with Paizo in places I am sure, but nothing near the wide spread breaking point that WotC faced with 4E, making it clear that PDFs don't have to be a problem if the right steps are taken.
 

Echohawk

Shirokinukatsukami fan
I absolutely feel WotC is making a terrible business decision. Further, given the circumstances under which they pulled the 4E PDFs, I do believe it to be driven by the misguided belief that not selling PDFs will somehow curb piracy. Can I absolutely prove that? Of course not.
I guess that's possible, but it seems unlikely to me. WotC currently has a catalog of more than 500 D&D PDF titles available. If their decisions were based only on concerns about piracy, then I think we wouldn't be seeing any PDF releases.

Instead, WotC have notably chosen to exclude titles from their PDF catalog that are still available in print. (This is true of products from all editions, not just the latest 5e stuff.) From that, my suspicion is that WotC are more concerned about the impact that they think PDF sales will have on print sales, and particularly on FLGS print sales, than they are concerned about piracy.

And if that is indeed the reason for no 5e PDFs, then it might not be a terrible business decision, but a carefully calculated one which is simply the least harmful to WotC. They may be making a considered choice to alienate potential PDF customers instead of alienating their print distribution channel.

The thing is, this isn't simply a case of me not getting the PDFs I want. I love D&D. I want it to succeed. I don't want to see 5E mismanaged into an early grave like 4E was. In my opinion, this sort of decision does not bode well on that front.
I think the current D&D team has done so many things right with the roll-out of 5e, that I'm inclined to give them the benefit of the doubt and assume that the lack of 5e PDFs isn't the result of any misguided beliefs, but a decision that they've applied their minds to.
 

Echohawk

Shirokinukatsukami fan
I must dissent from this view. If a customer is not in possession of that information, I expect that WotC is not in possession of all those "facts" either.
I agree with you. WotC can't know for sure what the impact of releasing/not releasing PDFs will be. But WotC probably have a lot more information to work with than we do, so I think it's a carefully considered decision, rather than a knee-jerk reaction to piracy concerns.

I think the major differences at play here are:
  • Different corporate cultures between WotC and Paizo;
  • Different relations with their retailers.
I'd add "different fundamental sales model" to that list. A lot of Paizo's product (print and PDF) is sold on a subscription basis directly to the public via the Paizo web site.

I think your analysis of the difference in the relationships WotC and Paizo have with game stores is very interesting. I was not aware that FLGS viewed Paizo as a direct competitor to that extent, but it makes sense that they would take that view, given that direct sales to the public are significant part of Paizo's business.
 

Jester David

Adventurer
Some gamers will buy the physical books, and some will not.
Some gamers will buy the PDFs, and some will not.

I don't see PDFs cannibalizing print sales that much. If people want a physical copy of the book they will buy a physical copy of the book. If they don't then they don't; being able to buy a cheaper PDF doesn't cut into print sales.
I've purchased all of two PDFs over print books, and both cases it was to have access to a single option in the book for Pathfinder Society.
If you just want to look through a book once, just to read or see what it includes, this isn't something you want to pay full price for, as you're not making full use of the book. Pre-PDFs this would be books you just borrowed from a friend, or found in a library. I felt that way about half of 4th Edition; I wanted a look through the book but it didn't need to join my shelf since it was unlikely to be used.


If a PDF is cheap, then it replaces the borrowing. Dropping $5-10 for a book is close to "impulse purchase" prices.
If a PDF is expensive, then this ceases to be an option.

As for piracy... this is tricky. People will always be willing to drop a few bucks for a game they enjoy. If it's just curiosity or a desire to read but unable to borrow. Or possibly a collector's need to see what's in every book and have access to all the content. That's when piracy comes in.
I'll admit to some of this during late 3e and 4e, when I knew I'd never get use out of the content I already had, let alone new content. I just wanted to see what the new options were in more detail than browsing in a store. Would I have paid $10 for a glance at the books instead? Maybe.

For example, right now there's no way I'm buying Hoard of the Dragon Queen. Too pricey for something I'll never use, even if it has new backgrounds and PC content. There's too many adventures I already have. I ran Dragonlance for PF a couple years back and I have Red Hand of Doom. I don't need Tyranny of Dragons. But....
But I might be willing to drop $10-15 for a PDF. Just to read. Satisfy that curiosity, get a few extra monsters or encounter ideas, or just to review the book on my blog.


Personally, I think convenience trumps piracy.
My music piracy dropped dramatically when I could just purchase individual songs for a buck off iTunes. Paying $20 for an entire CD with one good song was irritating, so the price was right. And it was easier just searching iTunes on the couch or at work rather than having to get to my desktop box and browse Demonoid.
Ditto streaming. Once I could Video-On-Demand shows I missed or movies, I stopped downloading that content. And once Doctor Who started airing here at the same time as the UK that helped even more. Plus Netflix. Why find a torrent when I can just Netflix it?

The days of not being able to find content online are far, far over. I remember seeing 3.0 books on KaZaA (or something). If someone doesn't want to pay $50 for a book they won't. Those are not lost sales, they're nonexistent sales.
The money that is being lost is the people who would have bought the PDF, who would have turned to the convenience of downloading from a reliable source, even if it means some DRM or watermarking.
If they can't buy the book easily they'll turn to piracy. And then they become a harder sale because they kinda sorta already have the content and they put the time into finding it, which involves the sunk cost fallacy.
Piracy takes some time. Good watermarks are hard to remove. People are willing to pay 30-50% more for the PHB just to get it early. Similarly, people will pay $10 rather than $0 for the ability to get the PDF right away rather than wait for a scrubbed copy.


There's also organized play. Which should not be forgotten.
PFS requires that you bring along a hard copy OR a watermarked PDF under your name. If the Adventurer's League play takes off, this might be a nice requirement.
Not being required to carry your entire gaming library to and from a game is nice. I love my PDFs for that. Carrying my PHB around GenCon for 3/4 of the convention was death on my shoulder, compared to the dozen PF books contained within my iPad.
 

Keldryn

Adventurer
Honestly, PDF is a terrible format for RPG books.

It was designed in the 90s to facilitate the printing of digitally-created documents. Printing a file off of any computer that it wasn't created on could be a nightmare -- even if you weren't going between Mac and Windows. It's meant to produce the same precise layout no matter where it is viewed or printed.

It's awkward to read a PDF in portrait orientation on a widescreen monitor, especially if it's the standard laptop resolution. Two-column text at that size on anything smaller than a full-size iPad can be difficult to read.

A digital version of an RPG book would be best presented as a fully hyperlinked document that is free of the linear organization imposed by originating as a printed book. Much like the d20 SRD, unsurprisingly. The text and layout would scale properly to look good on anything from a mobile phone to a 24" monitor.

And this takes time to do. I would prefer to wait for a higher-quality product that takes advantage of the digital format. I suspect that this will be coming eventually.
 

Pseudopsyche

Villager
I would prefer to wait for a higher-quality product that takes advantage of the digital format. I suspect that this will be coming eventually.
Well, we know that DungeonScape is coming this fall, and we know it will contain (allow you to purchase?) the full content of the rulebooks: http://www.enworld.org/forum/showthread.php?358271-DungeonScape-(formerly-known-as-Morningstar)&p=6363636&viewfull=1#post6363636

It looks like this app is how WotC wants you to read the books on your tablet, in lieu of using PDFs.
 

Keldryn

Adventurer
Well, we know that DungeonScape is coming this fall, and we know it will contain (allow you to purchase?) the full content of the rulebooks: http://www.enworld.org/forum/showthread.php?358271-DungeonScape-(formerly-known-as-Morningstar)&p=6363636&viewfull=1#post6363636

It looks like this app is how WotC wants you to read the books on your tablet, in lieu of using PDFs.
Ideally, you would be able to read a hyperlinked version of each book as well as have all of the relevant rules text linked to whenever they are referenced in the app.

For example, I'm running an adventure that I've built using the tools and one room description mentions that a PC needs to make a DC 10 Investigation check to find something. That links directly to the Investigation skill description in the rules. Any combat encounter set up in the tools has a quick link to the combat chapter. Any monster will have a link to the full Monster Manual entry, complete with artwork and all descriptive text. Any time a spell is referenced on a monster's or NPC's statblock, it links to the full text. The same goes for any magic items which replicate that spell's effect. If a condition is mentioned in the description of anything, it links to the description.

Essentially, once you're in the tools, you should rarely even have to use the Search function to locate the relevant rules from the PHB, DMG, or MM.

Now that is something that could get me using digital tools at the table.
 

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