Wednesday, September 30, 2015

D.M. Guide 5th

Decided to grab the Dungeon Masters guide for 5th edition. I wasn’t sure I really wanted it beforehand.

Dungeons & Dragons: Dungeon Master's Guide (Fifth Edition)

When we were into 4th edition I wasn’t really impressed with that DM guide. It didn’t look bad. It just didn’t look to really be helpful.

After thumbing through the 5th edition version of this book, I was surprised at how much usefulness there was in here.

After spending a few hours with this book it hit me. WOW! This really feels like a newer version of the Advanced D&D 2nd edition DM guide. The treasure tables! Oh how I missed those things! The dungeon dressings! The lists of poisons and traps! The various charts for rolling up encounters, adventures, dungeon dressing, NPCs, villains, etc., are all in here. Boy howdy did I ever miss those!

If you ever need a quick game idea or have gamers block, then go to the randomized chart and pick a locale and beasties from the list. You can even go all crazy and roll for all of it too. I usually hate random. I have railed against it before and will again. However, in the case of game creation while lacking an idea or lack of prep time, it can be very helpful.

I missed these guys!

There is a rather large section on the various planes of existence, travel to them, adventure ideas, inhabitants and all that. I have never been a supporter of the plane travel in D&D before. However, it does give a wealth of ideas now with this section. Plus it even sets some of the known locales in the various planes. I had no idea that Castle Ravenloft was in the Shadowfell. Did you know the Isle of Dread is in the elemental plane of water? Yeah this is ret-coned for this addition but at least they are mentioned and might one day have adventures written from them. Return to the Isle of Dread. Any takers?

(Quick aside……Frak that place and everything associated with it! Stupid island of dinosaurs and problems!)

The amount of helpful ideas for worlds building is great.  There is a lot of stuff about various types of fantasy settings (low magic, high fantasy, epic, sword and sorcery etc.) and how to run within them. There are charts to help flesh out a world if you need the help. There are even bits on how to stock your fantasy game with adventure ideas, people, events and places. This is can be useful for the long time or first time DM.

A chart for players to roll on if they have no idea what to do with character downtime.
"Karthak wants to go carousing."

There are a of rules for altering the races, spells, classes, magical stuff and monsters. This stuff is not super helpful for me, but I can see where it would be for others. I never cared for alternated wyrd created races  or wacky spells. The gold standards are always fine for me. Now the creation of magical tidbits might come in handy. The plethora of charts to help create a magic item of puny to extraordinary power is always welcome.

The way characters carry and wield magic is a bit different this time around since there is an attunement mechanic. I guess this is to keep characters from becoming covered head to toe in magical gear. Maybe it is to lessen the chance that any one player will be over powered due to sporting eight or more magical items at a time. I’m not sure how well that might be received or if I’ll follow suit with it, but it is something to think about while working up games. Magical attunement to items. Hmmmmm……..

If there is a minus it is that it sometimes feels a bit disorganized. Several times within chapters there will be a couple pages on a topic and then a page leap to a new topic  that has completely nothing to do with what was just covered. Wouldn’t it better to cram all the like minded stuff together?  It is not terrible, but it makes you really use the index when looking for certain bits of info. A bit more organization and a little less stream of consciousness game information is better for this guy.

There is a ton of useful stuff here that I still have to punch through. This book really adds to how to manage and run games this edition. The previous edition DM guide I didn’t bother with after a quick perusal. I really like what they have done with this book and can actually find multiple uses for it.

Now to dive back into this and see what else there is in here.

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