Xanathar's Guide to Everything

4.5 out of 5 rating for Xanathar's Guide to Everything

Review excerpt from Tribality.com

Xanathar’s Guide to Everything
is out now on D&D Beyond and at your FLGS (Friendly Neighborhood Gaming Stores). The book will be available everywhere else on November 21, 2017. For anyone who has been following the Unearthed Arcana articles, you’ll find lots of the content in this book, but revised and expanded (after playtests and feedback). This book also contains subclasses and spells that have already been published in other books such as Sword Coast Adventurer’s Guide and Princes of the Apocalypse. But never fear, there’s plenty of brand new content to enjoy too. The finished product comes together well, providing us with the first real expansion of D&D fifth edition ruleset.

After reading the book, I think this is an excellent expansion of both the Player’s Handbook and Dungeon Master’s Guide. I think it does way more things right, than wrong, but there are a few misses. It doesn’t try to do too much in its 200 pages, but nearly everything provided is a solid add to fifth edition.


  • Of the 27 new classes, most are fun, exciting, or interesting to play. I found more than enough subclasses that I want to play and I enjoyed playing both the Scout and Arcane Archer in short sessions. The team did an overall good job on revising and adding to the Unearthed Arcana versions of the subclasses, finding a way to make sure each of them fit into the game.
  • I really, really like all the backstory tools that were provided. I haven’t had a chance to go end to end and generate every aspect of a character yet, but I am hoping to do so shortly.
  • The Dungeon Master’s Tools are solid and there are some real standouts such as the common magic items.
  • We get 56 new spells! Tell me something wrong with that?
  • The appendices are a let down and I would rather see any other content than what was provided.

Overall 89%

Xanathar’s Guide to Everything
shows us that the team behind D&D is listening and learning as they go. While not perfect (I would have gave it a 4.5 if I could here), this is a solid book and a worthy companion to the PHB and DMG.

Read the Full Review
 
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Morrus

Well, that was fun
Staff member
4 out of 5 rating for Xanathar's Guide to Everything

As the first actual rules expansion of 5th Edition Dungeons & Dragons, Xanathar's Guide to Everything (XGtE) is facing an immense amount of scrutiny, guaranteeing that it won't please everyone. That said, there's a lot there for fans to like.

Xanathar's Guide to Everything is a good addition to the game. The relatively slim volume holds a lot of meat for players and DMs who want more than a hack-and-slay campaign while also providing options fans of the latter will embrace. It was worth the wait.

Full review.
 

Jester David

Adventurer
4 out of 5 rating for Xanathar's Guide to Everything

The two biggest problems with Xanathar’s Guide to Everything is the limited amount of content and unexplanatory name.


For a book that costs as much as the Player’s Handbook but has 128 fewer pages, limiting its usable content is a big drawback. The book features slightly tweaked subclasses we’ve already seen, misses some pretty iconic options, and devotes over a quarter of the book to random tables offering services that existing websites already provide (like random names) or that could have been free PDFs (like WotC has already done, as apparently with the list of spells, the monster by rarity chart, or the magic item rarity index). Or even left for DMsGuild products.


But it’s the first non-adventure product WotC has released in a year, and will likely be the only accessory for players released for many months, if not another year or two. There’s been plenty of time to save money, and with so little official content released this small smattering of appetisers feels like a feast.


All this makes the book difficult to judge.


The actual content in the book is both well-balanced and well-received, being the best-of-the-best previewed in Unearthed Arcana. And I do very much like that they’re only adding a restrained number of new player options to the game. Those 50-odd pages will be great for my group eventually, as new campaigns start and/or replacement characters are brought into the game. The spells are also good, plus some of the DM variant rules will be useful: I can see using a few of the downtime options. But there’s so many more rules modules they could have added, so many more types of content. Looking back to my review of the DMG, rules modules missing from that book included encounter-based PC resources, alternate methods of gaining experience, fantastic firearms (i.e. non-historical), managing strongholds, kingdom building, mass combat, variant critical hit rules, critical fumbles, hit locations, armour as DR, and vehicular (especially naval) combat. All of those topics could have easily been at home here.


Many players will be happy to roll randomly for a background, either to save themselves some time or brainpower, or simply to challenge themselves to work with the random results and reconcile any irregularities. But just as many might happily ignore those sections, preferring to devise their own backstory. And while some Dungeon Masters will be happy with random encounter tables, I suspect just as many prefer not to leave their encounters to chance. And for groups who primarily run one of the storyline adventures, these tables are also less useful, first because most of the encounters are scripted, but also because those books also feature random encounter tables (as such, I technically already own many, many pages of random encounters). While theoretically useful if an encounter goes off the rails, I have yet to pull of Storm King’s Thunder for a random encounter, and don’t think it likely I will do so with this book.


After a few days with the book I’m reminded very much of the Sword Coast Adventurer’s Guide, in that it’s a book with a smattering of crunchy content and a lot of "other". Only in this case, instead of being a campaign setting-ette and a guide to the Sword Coast, it’s just page after page of tables. Which, clearly, did not wow me. But, if you are a table junkie who makes regular use of random encounters while also favouring some random chance in your character’s backstories, this third of the book might make you incredibly happy.

Read my full review here.
 

SharnDM

Explorer
5 out of 5 rating for Xanathar's Guide to Everything

Xanathar's Guide to Everything is a smartly written supplement book from a company that historically, at times, has brought us not so smart supplement books. Wizards took a page out of their own playbook and essentially playtested the character archetypes included via Unearthed Arcana, and took their time producing balanced, quality content. Players aren't the only ones who will benefit though, there is plenty for the DM to peruse as well.

For a full review, check my site: https://melsmifgames.wordpress.com/2...-deeper-delve/

If you purchase this book here are a few things you can expect:


  • We see every base class presented in the Player’s Handbook receiving two new archetypes for players to utilize (with the exception of the Wizard who only gets one). Most of these were vetted via entry onto the Unearthed Arcana site, so you know they’ve faced some scrutiny from fans and the in house team. Much in the way 5th Edition itself was playtested.
  • A beefed up system of character background generation
  • New feats to play around with, this time focusing on the player character’s race. Reading through these reminded me that I need to pay a little bit more attention to this aspect of the game, feats are actually pretty cool options.
  • New spells are bandied about, many are long time favorites that didn’t make the cut in the first foray into 5th edition.
  • Numerous Dungeon Master tools are also available. Namely these tools serve to expand upon situations a DM might have run into and adds some needed assistance in how one might handle them.
 

guachi

Villager
3 out of 5 rating for Xanathar's Guide to Everything

Everything is a mixed bag that ultimately doesn't really live up to its name. It doesn't really have everything but it is a good addition to the game. There's little to the book that would qualify as a "need" for any gaming table.

Its average score comes from the fact that either there should be more to it or it should cost less.
 

Prakriti

Hi, I'm a Mindflayer, but don't let that worry you
2 out of 5 rating for Xanathar's Guide to Everything

Xanathar's Guide, a slim 192 pages, is an unfortunate blemish on an otherwise excellent edition.

Before I get into the book's contents, I want to point out that Xanathar's Guide is comprised of a shocking amount of reprinted material: approximately 4-5 pages of subclasses (from The Sword Coast Adventurer's Guide) and 10-14 pages of spells. 37 out of the 77 wizard spells in Xanathar's Guide are reprinted from Princes of the Apocalypse (the same spells also appear in the free Elemental Evil Player's Companion).

When you subtract 14-19 pages of reprinted material and 20 pages of appendices that many people will find useless (the last chunk of Xanathar's Guide is compromised of random name tables -- yes, really), Xanathar's Guide is a mere ~155 pages. Ouch.

Player Options
I'm not a fan of the new subclasses. At all. Almost all of them fail at the conceptual level, meaning they have no place alongside such iconic archetypes as the Thief, Beastmaster, Wild Mage, Assassin, etc. Players aren't likely to come to the game wanting to play a Shampoo Druid or a Peanut Bard, so why add them to the game? D&D thrives on big, splashy icons of fantasy: wizards, fighters, thieves, and clerics, the primary colors of the fantasy genre. The way to achieve different shades and colors is by blending the primary classes through feats and multiclassing. If someone wants to play a purple class with green polkadots, then they can multiclass a red class with a blue one and take a green feat. There's no need to codify purple-with-green-polkadots alongside the primary color classes. It's a hierarchical nightmare.

And while some subclasses have a strong concept -- the Samurai and the Cavalier, for example -- their inclusion can't be justified in the face of existing player options. What is a Samurai if not a Fighter with the Noble background? And a Cavalier is just a Fighter with a horse. Why do these concepts need to be codified as unique subclasses when players already have the tools for creating them? Another hierarchical nightmare.

Then there's the fact that the new subclasses have very poor thematic consistency, meaning that their abilities have little to nothing to do with their concept. Take the Circle of Dreams Druid, for example. What would you expect its 2nd level ability to be? Putting enemies to sleep? That would make sense. But instead, they are given the ability to heal their allies. A nice ability, to be sure, but what does it have to do with dreams? Not even the fluff can adequately explain.

Ultimately, the player options in Xanathar's Guide are a poor addition the game. This is all the more frustrating because 5E was supposed to be the evergreen edition, something that seems more and more unlikely with each new release. (Note to the future developers of 6E: an "evergreen" edition and player options are mutually exclusive. Choose one.)

DM Tools
The book's second half is targeted at DMs, and almost all the material was already published in Unearthed Arcana with very few changes. As a result, many of us will feel like we already own a large portion of this book. On top of that, the DM tools are lackluster and add unnecessary complications to the game by introducing practical problems at the table.

For example, the new magic crafting system doesn't fix the existing system so much as replace it, which might be alright if the new system didn't have its own inherent problems. So now we have a choice between using Flawed System A or Flawed System B. That sort of conundrum is introduced by other sections of the book as well. This is all the more problematic when you consider that Xanathar's Guide is a player-facing book. DM's might feel pressured to use the new crafting and downtime rules simply on the basis that their players are familiar with them.

Yet Xanathar's Guide isn't all bad. A few sections offer welcome solutions to existing rules problems (identifying spells as they are cast, sleeping in armor, tying knots, and rate of falling). Unfortunately, these comprise no more than a few paragraphs in total, and some of the new rules are already the subject of massive player revolt. Identifying spells, for instance, uses up a reaction, precluding counterspell, and sleeping in armor is penalized with a reduction in Hit Dice recovery. Similarly, returning briefly to the player options, some of the subclasses have been nerfed from their play-test versions, prompting some players to cling to the original iterations.

Ultimately, the second half of Xanathar's Guide is a lackluster and unwelcome addition to the game. Instead of the mechanical expansion we were promised, it serves as little more than a half-baked revision of existing systems, introducing more problems than it solves.

Final Rating:
2/5
 

Corrosive

Adventurer
2 out of 5 rating for Xanathar's Guide to Everything

25 subclasses previously published on WotC's site? There's a reason sublasses are the province of fan and blog creations - they're not really all that interesting, or hard to make. It literally takes about 5 minutes to make a subclass. Probably less time than it takes to make a CHARACTER. 5 new CLASSES would have been awesome. 5 new classes would have been worth the price of admission. Subclasses? Meh. I can make them while asleep. The DM tools in this book save it from being a complete washout, but again it's all blog material. It falls far short of being modern version of AD&D's Unearthed Arcana.
 

pukunui

Adventurer
2 out of 5 rating for Xanathar's Guide to Everything

Xanathar's Guide to Everything does not quite live up to its name. Perhaps a better title would have been Xanathar's Box of Chocolates. Some of its contents are quite tasty, but most of it is rather average. There are a few bits that, if they were chocolates, would most likely get discarded with the packaging.

- Some of the subclasses are quite cool. Some are rubbish. Some are (updated) reprints. A few don't quite live up to their potential. Standouts include the divine soul and hexblade.
- The background stuff looks like it could be fun but I haven't had a chance to play with it yet.
- Some of the DM tools look useful. I particularly like the expanded rules on using tools.
- A number of the reprinted spells have been updated. As for the new ones, there are a few gems in there, but there are also some that are real game-changers, and maybe even a few that are potential game-breakers. Use with caution.
- I'm not sure how I feel about all the random name tables. It's nice to have more names for some of the less common fantasy races (like dragonborn and tieflings) but I could have done without all the real world human names.


Overall I'd have to say that I am somewhat disappointed with this book. Part of it might be because there's not much in there that I hadn't already seen in draft form, but a good chunk of my disappointment stems from the fact that much of its contents still feels half-baked. In fact, the book as a whole feels that way. I'm really not seeing the emphasis on quality over quantity that WotC has been touting here.
 
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machineelf

Villager
4 out of 5 rating for Xanathar's Guide to Everything

Yes, some of the material here has been printed elsewhere. And yes, it doesn't cover "everything" as the title suggests. (I would have loved to see some more detail to the extreme weather conditions rules, for one.)

But, overall I feel that this is a must-have product for your game. Fifth Edition has been a wonderful rule-set. But, it seems some of the rules may have been tacked on and weren't fleshed out as well as they could have been. Particularly the downtime rules and the tool proficiency rules. Tools and downtime have been mostly ignored in our games, because they just didn't seem to offer much value. Xanathar's Guide fixes that. Now, with the fixed rules in this book, you will actually want to run some downtime scenarios. In my epic campaign, where the characters may need to spend some time researching ancient lore of the region or looking for a useful magical item, these rules work perfectly and are what we've been waiting for.

Likewise, tool proficiencies, other than the thieves tools, have been largely ignored. But now, with a little bit of tweaking in Xanathar's guide, tool proficiencies become relevant and useful.

I don't really understand some of the ultra-negative ratings some have given to this book. The criticism that a lot of this has been printed in Unearthed Arcana doesn't make sense. Unearthed Arcana is not official material; rather it's meant as sort of playtest material. That means a lot of time and work and playtesting went into these classes before it was put into an official book. Rejoice! The new spells were printed before in the Princes of Apocalypse campaign adventure. But that was just one adventure that might not be for everyone. Now we have this material, somewhat revised, placed into a book alongside other useful material for players and DM's to be used in all of your campaigns. That's a useful thing to have.

After reading it, it feels like Xanathar's Guide is a sort of 5.1 edition rules update. I hope WOTC continues this trend. Yes, it's still the 5th edition rules, but with some updates to a few rules that didn't really work too well originally. Plus, there are loads of really interesting subclasses that will give many more options to your players and years of more enjoyment. In my mind, while not perfect in every regard, this is still one of the best products they've put out to date for 5th edition. With Xanathar's Guide, it feels like 5th Edition just got a little bit better.
 
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Dan Hass

Villager
5 out of 5 rating for Xanathar's Guide to Everything

XGE is culled from the best playtest material (Unearthed Arcana) from the last three years with some refinement. So the content is good - as expected. And there is some selections of things that were not ever part of Unearthed Arcana - many spells, for example. But it is clear that a lot of development went into the content. There aren't nearly as many head scratchers as there were in the first big expansion book (Volo's - kobolds can do what? They grovel move away, and then everybody has advantage against the BBEG?). There is one spell that is notably not quite right as written, but a month in that is the only thing - so that a very good start.

So why the "low" A instead of a solid A? A lack of a unifying theme. I know they stick in the beholder's notes as a glue, but that is awfully forced. There are classes, and spells, and things about traps, and downtime - just a whole lot of stuff crammed together. It is all useful stuff, and I'm glad to have it, but XGE is not nearly as good a read as the four other comprehensive books so far.
 

EthanSental

Explorer
5 out of 5 rating for Xanathar's Guide to Everything

review to come but I'm a person that will use the names in the book so it's not a distraction to me, neither are the reprinted stuff as I'd rather have it in the least number of sources...2 books at the table compared to 3 with the POD elemental evil.

subclasses are a nice addition to the game and the dms tools add structure I can use.
 

pogre

Adventurer
4 out of 5 rating for Xanathar's Guide to Everything

This is a great resource for players who like lots of subclasses. I found the DM section subpar by comparison. Nitpiks on my part - really a solid effort by WOTC.
 

Dualazi

Villager
2 out of 5 rating for Xanathar's Guide to Everything

Xanathar's guide to Everything is the first major rules expansion of 5th edition, and like the books that came before it aims to split the content of the book so it is aimed at DMs and PC's alike. As such, I'll be breaking down each section individually.


Subclasses: Most of these are quite serviceable, and there are a couple real standouts like the Zealot barbarian (It's a berserker, but actually good), and the Ranger subclasses are all pretty great. Likewise though, there are a couple sour options as well, such as the incredibly lazy and multiclass-prone hexblade, the poorly thought out redemption paladin,and the Sun Soul monk, which is both terrible AND a reprint. Which brings me to my next point; as with many other elements of Xanathar's the subclass section is likewise marred by the presence of rehashed content that has long been available in other WotC products.


Tool section: incredibly hit or miss.Some of the already better tool kits are even more fleshed out and become highly valuable, like disguise and herbalism. Niche tools remain horrendously bad though, on top of having redundant features,such as calligrapher's supplies affecting forgery, when a forgery kit already has that covered. Overall, there's a lot more misses than hits here, and this section does very little to incentivize players to pick more niche tools rather than the more common adventuring ones or simply another skill.


Encounter building options are generally good, if prone to the same pitfalls as before with regards to variable monster quality. That said, the charts detailing personalities and relationships are great, and the copious random monster tables are really welcome for those doing a rotating campaign or who prefer classic, RNG heavy approaches.


Many of the miscellaneous ruling are quite good too, such as the falling long distances, flying monsters being knocked prone, and sleeping, both in armor and for perception thresholds to wake up.


The traps section is fantastic. For new DMs it offers solid advice one the philosophy behind effective trap placement and design, and for seasoned DMs is offers useful examples and damage benchmarks to work off of. None of this is strictlynecessary, but it's well done in my opinion and I expect to get good use from it.


Downtime Revisited: Most of these are great, and the addition of rivals who are not straight antagonists is welcome. That said, it's worth noting that Wizards still can't seem to grasp the fact that they can't do basic math, as scribing a scroll of wish costs 250,000 and forging a Luckblade costs 100,000. This is peculiar since consumables like scrolls are mentioned under the item creation rules, but Wizards still felt it needed to be expanded on elsewhere (poorly). It also mentions in the item creation rules that you need a formula to make a magic item, but doesn't describe how to create one or acquire one. Ultimately it still boils down to a vague“go do a CR appropriate sidequest and spend some money” that I assume many were already doing. Despite these complaints, I want to reiterate that the rest of the downtime section as a whole is pretty good.


The section on awarding magic items is mediocre, since it probably describes what most DMs were doing anyway if they weren't using a roll method, but it is nice to have some hard numbers to compare to. The common magic item section is garbage and a huge waste of space though, a few of them have some usefulness but most are wastes of ink designed to fill cliches like the Billowing Cloak or Dread Helm.


The new spells list overall has its share of stinkers (snilloc's snowball swarm) and high points (crown of stars), but overall this section is also marred by similar issues elsewhere in the book; there are a huge number of reprints from the Elemental Evil supplements. Worse, while some did get a decent balance pass that might justify their inclusion, others like Abi-Dalzim's Horrid Wilting were reprinted and kept in an awful, borderline unusable state. On a personal level, I also hate the'stronghold' spells, such as Temple of the Gods or Mighty Fortress,since they both mess with world building and also conveniently stop Wizards from having to put forth stronghold rules of substance.


Names: The ultimate black mark on this book, and the single largest reason why, even without other flaws, I would likely never rate this book above 3/5. It is inconceivable that in a world with smartphones, tablets, and laptops, with more online name generators and repositories than you could shake a stick at,that Wizards thought it was acceptable to dedicate almost 10% of their first major rules expansion to NAMES. Maybe there's someone out there who has every player and NPC completely generated through dicerolls, right down to the name, and is simply dancing for joy. For everyone else, this is indefensible page count padding in a book that should have anything but.


Conclusion: There are elements here that are useful and welcome additions for the game, but there's so much filler, reprints, and conservative rule design that you'd think we were still in the 3.5 edition bloat days and this was yet another monthly release shoved off the presses. Instead, this is a sorry excuse for the first major rules update of 5th edition and I can't recommend it to anyone unless severely discounted.
 
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2 out of 5 rating for Xanathar's Guide to Everything

First up: Due to a mistake by Amazon, I ended up with a free copy of this book. I'm going to try not to let that influence my review, but I believe strongly that such things should be stated up front so the reader is aware.

Anyway...

If this book had come out 3-6 months after the 5e core rulebooks had been released, and had it been priced at $35, I would have given this book a solid 5 star review. As it is, however, this book is too little, too late, and way too expensive.

It's not that I consider the $50 price point excessive... provided they give good value for money for that. And the 256-page storyline books have mostly done that. Even "Volo's Guide", at 224 pages, was just about okay provided you got a decent discount from Amazon or similar (which sucks for the independent retailer, of course, but that's another rant).

But "Xanathar's Guide" costs the same $50, and further cuts the page count, down to 192 pages. To justify that, the contents have to be absolutely stellar - of a quality that hasn't been seen in RPG books since... I don't know - maybe since the very first edition of "Vampire: the Masquerade" changed the entire landscape?

The contents of "Xanathar's Guide" are... okay, I guess.

The book is broken down into three chapters and two appendices. The first chapter consists of character options, and is mostly made up of new subclasses for each of the twelve classes in the PHB. No new classes are presented here. The new subclasses are fine, with no stinkers that I could see. I was particularly impressed with the decision to make the Hexblade a Warlock subclass - I thought that was an inspired choice. Conversely, my reaction to the much-hyped Forge Cleric was "meh". I had read comments that suggested that this might patch the hole left by the Artificer, but frankly I didn't think it was anything more than 'okay'.

This chapter also has some additional feats, each tied to one of the races in the PHB. Those are okay. And there were some other bits an pieces about fleshing out a character's background, personality, or other details, which were fine.

The second chapter is filled with DM tools, which again range from the space-filling (we really need half a column on Cook's tools?) to the meh (knot tying!), to the really quite good actually (lots of random encounter tables, a new system on building encounters, and quite a lot of new ways to use downtime - including rules for both buying and crafting magic items). I also enjoyed the discussion on traps, except that I think they probably missed a trick here - the book notes that a simple trap mirrors a spell while complex trap mirrors a monster, while failing to note that that's probably exactly how these things should be presented (and we probably need a "Big Book of Traps" for exactly that reason).

The third, and shortest, chapter has some new spells. These are fine - I didn't feel any need for more spells, but there's no harm in them.

The first appendix is probably the single most useful part of the book, at least for my own, personal needs - it goes into quite a lot of detail about shared campaigns. But, more importantly, a whole of of the material here is easily adaptable for the sort of game where you can only play very rarely and want to skip away from a lot of the 'book-keeping' aspects of monitoring XP and assigning treasure. Good stuff.

And then the second appendix gives 18 pages of sample names.

Frankly, I'm baffled by this. Providing sample names is fine, I guess. But it's hardly the highest priority. And when the book has had its page count cut, and with the price point that marks it as a premium product, is this really the best material that WotC can find to fill it? After three years working on this fifth edition of the game, have they really produced so little useable material that they'll fill 10% of their new rules book with lists of names?

I find that a shocking decision.

So where does that leave "Xanathar's Guide"?

Ultimately, I cannot recommend this book. Yes, if you're desperate for new material, and especially for new subclasses, this book may fill that spot - and doubly so if only 'official' works will do. But other than that, and unless you can get a massive discount on the book, it's just not worth it - you'll get much better return on investment elsewhere.
 

MrMockery

Villager
3 out of 5 rating for Xanathar's Guide to Everything

Lets start with the things I liked shall we:
I really like what they've added with tools, it's really made a big step into making them a genuine part of the game, rather than just a bit of background for your character.
It adds a nice variety of things for characters to do, and really gives players a reason to go for more "just a dude" backstories, which I appreciate. It's also genuinely creative and useful for the most part, giving just about every tool an application (though cobblers tools still feel a bit useless, unless your DM is a bastard about footwear). The gambling proficiencies are my personal favourite, they encompass just about everything I'd want to do with them, aside from "win the imaginary game within the imaginary game"

The character generation is a bit so-so for me. It has some nice stuff for fleshing out a backstory, but that's not something I've ever noticed as lacking in any of my players. Reminding players that their characters have friends and families from before their career as adventurers is pretty good though.

Downtime revisted and complex traps is stuff I'm quite glad to see come in from Unearthed Arcana mostly unchanged. It's functional and has good guidelines and suggestions, and the example traps are pretty good, at least the ones I've seen and tested. Downtimes nice and simple, and pretty hands off for players, though I'd still let them do more detailed things if its good.

Other DMs stuff is kinda predictable and while useful, not anything difficult to make yourself or of fantastically high quality. A list of magic items is only more handy than the DMs guide if it includes them in an easy to access way, not if you have to flip though a separate book to find them.

The new racial feats are quite nice. Human ones are lackluster but they were always going to be, the others add a variety of pretty fun stuff. I am a big fan of the amount feats let you customise characters so it' always a plus. That does lead me to the below issue however...

Subclasses are... ok. They are for the most part, fine. I'm sorry that more of the elemental sorcery classes didn't make it in from UA, but we can't have them all I guess. Sticking with sorcerer for a little longer, every alternate subclass is nearly objectively more powerful than the standard players handbook ones. The Divine Soul is particularly irksome to me, it acts as fuel for the "I'm the chosen one" character my players occasionally make that drives me nuts, it has the same level 14 ability as the Draconic sorcery one, except for a possible change in fly speed and minus all the disadvantages. It also feels like it's encroaching strongly onto cleric territory, because why would you play a cleric or sorcerer when you can play both.
Stepping on other classes or existing subclasses toes is kind of a theme for the subclasses here. We are introduced to the swordy wizard (though we already had bladesinger), a clericy sorcerer and warlock and a rouge that's really a ranger (and I feel we narrowly missed out on a ranger that's pretty much a rogue). I don't love the grave domain, because it's like the death domain minus the evil (which I guess is the point), and the forge domain is a different enough take on light and knowledge for me to allow it.
Other than some blurring lines, there are a few classes with frankly weird or just plain near useless. Worst offenders to me are the Horizon Walker Conclave, which just seems way too specific to fit into most campaigns. It's a very hard sell that you'd just be a wandering ranger of a secret order of portal guardians or something, and it's a hard subclass for me to flavour nicely. I have the opposite problem with the hexblade patron: It's not enough. It's not really anything. How do you make a pact with "a force" that has no more flavour then: "sometimes manifests as weapons" and "has something to do with the raven queen." My issue with the raven queen UA was that it is too inflexible, and the hexblade kind of nonsensical. This attempted rewriting of it is kind of a useless middle ground. There's not really anything for a DM to work with here unless there's a book specifically about shadowfell about to come out or that I simply haven't read.

Spell list was a little disapointing. A lot of the "new" spells are from the elemental evil expansion, and while the new ones added much needed variety to high level warlock and sorcerer lists, the focus on arcane traditions only adds fuel to the huge mass of spells wizards already get access too, even adding more wizard exclusive spells. It's a pet peeve of mine that sorcerers don't have a single exclusive spell, and I was hoping dragon's breath would be the first, but wizards get that too. Non-Arcane classes tend to miss out in this one, with very few new spells for clerics and druids. Those they did add I quite liked, but there should have been more. And then there's the obvious: Healing Spritiy, or the bit they forgot to read over before pressing publish. A moderately broken healing spell, that really should have been picked up on.

Overall, I'm pretty happy with the minor bits of it, the little extra bits that weren't the focus, and the subclasses, about half the big stuff were alright, just let down by a few kinda crappy examples. The spells added are by and large good, but don't focus on where spells are really needed and my god needed a bit more editing.
 

Osgood

Explorer
5 out of 5 rating for Xanathar's Guide to Everything

initially I was uncertain about the slow release schedule. I’m glad they took the time to do it right. Great subclasses, and I like the DM goodies.
 

Phototoxin

Villager
4 out of 5 rating for Xanathar's Guide to Everything

I found this book to be really useful - aside from the extra subclasses and options, there's a lot of nice extra information like uses for some of the less useful skills and things. The much maligned name chart is a waste of space which could have been better used but I still think this is the 2nd splatbook you need after Volos Guide to Monsters!
 

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