Hey look, if anyone is paying attention, you might remember me stating the Mordenkainen’s Tome of Foes would be the last Dungeons and Dragons handbook I would be reviewing for a while, but I forgot about the Dungeon Master’s Guide which I had actually not finished. Somewhat strangely, even though I have been a game master far more often than not, I found the DMG the dullest of all the new 5E books I have read.
Genre: Fantasy (Role Playing Game)
Publisher: Wizards of the Coast
Stars: 3.5 Stars
Reviewer: Michael D. Griffiths
I am not sure if this feeling revolves around having authors who were not born when I started playing Dungeons and Dragons, trying to teach me how to play or because it was geared for people who were just getting started. This is fine though, new game masters need help and training, but does this book give it to them? I suppose it does, but not in the easiest to follow format. It seems to be more interested in random tables (Something I maybe use once every 5 years) over explaining the basics of things such as Experience Points. Experience Points is the backbone of the game and mostly why the characters get out of bed in the morning and the book again focuses more on using charts to dig down the math of monster encounters rather than letting people know how the characters get their EP which is covered in two ill written paragraphs.
Other downsides include the general feeling of having everything being dummied down. This really is a handbook for someone who has never run a game before, but I do not see how much use it is for an experienced Game Master. Again, great if your new at this and fine. Besides the magic items, I do not think I will use this book for anything.
Speaking of magic items… In general, 5E tries to control the game more and sail a tighter ship. Balancing encounters, more backstory on monsters, and control of how every aspect which could affect a character is treated and discussed. Strange how certain ups and downs are created in this version. Player abilities are pumped up, but magic items are toned down. I mean huh, swords and armor only go up to +3. I am still on the fence about how I feel about the changes with Magic Item charges. Instead of lifetime charges, each item has a smaller number which regenerate over a day or two. Change is often good, but I have a hard time imagining I am the employee at Wizards of the Coast who is at the meeting saying, “No, no Gygax had it wrong. I know better.”
So, this one is simple. If you are running a 5e campaign, you should probably get this. If you are new to the game, and will be the Game Master, you must get this. If you are a player, I would not bother. Save your money for a new figure.