I have reviewed the Player’s Handbook, the Monster Manual and the Hoard of the Dragon Queen…but I got sidetracked before I reviewed the Dungeon Master’s Guide. Honestly, I think this review is going to be a bit better than it would have been, because the first impressions have washed away, and I’ve been using the book in play since it was released.
Appendices include random dungeon generators, monster lists by environment and challenge rating, sample maps and DM inspirational reading.
SIX POINT SUMMARY
– A lot of the information provided is very basic stuff that experienced GMs have read for *years*. Thing is, in theory, this will be the first DMG for a lot a DMs, so they still need to read this.
– I strongly suspect that the Challenge Rating system is completely busted, and the XP per day stuff, as well as the XP Budget to build an encounter just stick out like a sore thumb against the fast, loose and “just go with it” style the rest of the book embodies. In fact, that was the biggest revelation for me: The almost blatant admission that there was no deep, complex, underlying math to the system that I was going to break if this guy had a breath weapon and that guy was imbued with shadow (long story).
– Attunement is such a lovely thing, and the system no longer tries to balance for a magic item economy.
– Options, options, options. Especially by the time you reach Part 3, you are full of options to play with, from tactical combat to spell point systems to lingering injuries. Use what you want, dump the rest. I’ve used a lot, but there’s still soooooo many more I want to incorporate (and probably will if we have another campaign).
– Proficiency Dice and Hero Points are both things that I like, in theory. In practice, I think I may dramatically overhaul them. With bounded accuracy keeping Armor Classes lower, getting an extra d6 on a die isn’t usually a huge thing, especially when you’re rolling a d8 or d10 alongside your d20. Plus, rolling a 1 on your proficiency die is basically your skill failing you. Next campaign, I may tinker with returning to proficiency bonuses, but combining the die escalation of Proficiency Dice with the extra die effect of Hero Points…makes using them a little more worthwhile.
– All. The random. Tables. How can I, of all people, not love a book FILLED with random tables. You could cook up almost a whole campaign off of those things. Just magnificent.
Was the DMG the key to making me love Dungeons & Dragons 5th Edition? No. I was already in love with the Player’s Handbook. However, my players weren’t completely sold until I instituted the rules tweaks (proficiency dice, hero points and tactical combat), so it was certainly the key towards making them love D&D, and it did help me understand that the designers were truly willing to put a lot of power into the hands of DMs like myself, in the hopes that we wouldn’t screw it all up.
Yeah, I’m a fan.
Originally posted by Tommy Brownell here. Republished with permission by the author.