Yesterday saw the release of the D&D 5th edition Dungeon Master’s Guide. Now, I’m not a dungeon master. I’ve never been one, I’ve never really had any desire to be one. But if I did, this is the book I’d want. The book states, if you’re not familiar with the basics of D&D, you might want to grab the Starter Set and get familiar before reading this. As long as you have a basic knowledge of the game, you’re good to go.
The guide is divided into three parts: Master of Worlds, Master of Adventures, and Master of Rules.
Part 1: Master of Worlds
Part 1 helps you create your own world. There’s a table of Gods, different religions, currency, languages, forms of government. It also suggests creating a map of your world and gives examples of what kind of sizes you’d want your world to be and what scale to make your map. There’s tables for everything you could possibly need and plenty of stuff you don’t need. There’s disasters, invasions, extinctions. There’s even a table and a sample for creating a faction, should you be so inclined to do so. There’s a chapter to help you with tiers of play, play style, and choosing what type of fantasy you want. Epic, heroic, mythic, etc. There’s a guide to put together your entire universe. It’s very in depth.
Part 2: Master of Adventures
This is the section you’ll use to put together your adventure. There are even more tables in this section then in the first. They run anywhere from goals to side quests to random encounters. They’ll help you create a dungeon or map a settlement. You’ll learn how to design an NPC and again use the tables to decide their talents and other traits. You can roll your dice to decide if they have a scar or if they can paint. The tables just never end. Of course you don’t need to use them, but it’s definitely a handy addition to running a game. Like with the other books in this edition, half of it is devoted to Magic.
Part 3: Master of Rules
This part, of course, contains the rules. Rules for rolling, rules for social interaction, etc. Included is a section on making your own creatures and designing your own spells, magic, races, and backgrounds. The thing with this edition is that the rules aren’t hard and fast rules, which is really nice. You’re given a basic guideline to follow, but most things are really left up to the DM’s discretion. It’s a much better way to play in my opinion.
So, my thoughts. First of all, as with every book released for this edition, the artwork is amazing. The production quality is just fantastic. The content is enough to instruct, but not bore you. And again, it’s more of a guideline than an exact way you HAVE to play. Overall: the look, the quality, the content, it’s all great.
My husband is the D&D expert in the family and I always run these books by him before I write up a review, cause he would know better than me whether a guide is good or not. He said that it’s “almost a crash course in story creation/writing”. He thinks the guide is fantastic, BUT that the combat system has always lacked something and it’s no different in this book. The guide doesn’t help you make interesting encounters with mechanics. But aside from that, fantastic book. If you’re going to be playing, get this book, the Monster Manual, and the Player’s Handbook. The prices might be a bit steep, but it’s well worth it.