Friday, May 23, 2014

My Thoughts on the D&D 5E Starter Information...

As the information on D&D 5E is slowly coming out the blogosphere has been lit up with various posts about the cost of the books, release dates, the OGL (or lack thereof), and the upcoming $20 Starter Set coming soon.  My tentative plan was to pick up the Starter Set and see how well the rules match my expectations.  With the latest word of mouth containing information similar to "the Starter Set will be geared towards the DM" and "pre-generated characters instead of character creation rules" I am starting to re-think that decision.

There are several Basic Sets from the old TSR catalog that can serve as fine examples of how to do the 5E Starter Set correctly; Holmes, Moldvay, & Mentzer all have their own strengths and following in their foot steps would improve the quality of any new version.  I am going to touch on some of the information I have read from other blogs in this post. 

It has been pointed out that the 5E Starter Set will cater to the DM in several posts.  I understand this approach because there will be plenty of experienced hobbyists that use this set to introduce new players and the owner will most likely be the DM in those instances.  I do think that 5E would be better served by a  Starter Set placing equal importance on the role of player and DM by including a condensed PHB and DMG that are both around 48 to 64 pages in length.

The other bit of information I keep reading in posts is the inclusion of pre-generated characters instead of character creation rules in the Starter Set.  I realize that pre-generated characters could lead to quicker set up time if the characters were presented in a clean layout with notes about rolling, combat, skills, etc. on the character sheet.  I have heard that the character creation rules will be available for free online for people to reference.  Why not just include them in the Starter Set?  It was done with the old Basic Sets from the past and it was great so why not just do it again?  Character creation is one of the most basic essentials of a role-playing game so they should be included.  The Starter Set should serve as a snapshot of the full rules.  

I have flip-flopped a few times on whether or not I am going to buy the Starter Set or skip it.  I would like a "complete" product but with the exclusion of character creation rules in the box I am not sure.  Ideally, along with character generation the rules should cover the first 5 levels of play with the appropriate information split between a condensed PHB and DMG.  I would assume that they would only include 3 or 4 races with the same number of classes.  Of course, any DM information would only include information appropriate for the possible levels.  Throw in some dice and an introductory adventure and I am all over this.

Now I hear that Amazon has the Starter Set listed for $12.66 so maybe I will be buying it...



  1. I think until we're properly there that the picture will remain a bit murky on how this works. The news sounds like we'll get a starter set that's just a module with pregens, and those will include a sheet that says "go to the website for more info." On the website there will be a condensed version of the PHB with enough data to design core characters...and possibly (not sure if this is speculation or from a trade show announcement) condensed versions of the same for the MM and DMG. So a free, functional core version of the game on site, with the starter set as basically an adventure to hook new players. So I'm getting it because I also like collecting D&D, but it sounds like veteran gamers looking to play can go to the website first and bypass the starter set unless they just want the module.

    Either way....will be intresting to see how everyone feels about it all after July 15th!

    1. I like the way you've described it above - actually makes it sound more interesting! Even with the minor grumbling, I'm sure to pick up a copy on the 15th. I HAVE to compare and contrast my impression of the product to the actual product itself.