DUNGEONS AND DRAGONS: DUNGEON MASTER’S GUIDE FIFTH EDITION

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BOOK REVIEW: DUNGEONS AND DRAGONS: DUNGEON MASTER’S GUIDE FIFTH EDITION / AUTHOR: WIZARDS OF THE COAST / PUBLISHER: WIZARDS OF THE CAST / RELEASE DATE: OUT NOW

Dungeon Master’s Guide (DMG) is the final book in the Fifth Edition trilogy. Though the essential rules are contained in the first book, The Players Handbook, and the most essential elements for play are covered with The Monster Manual, it’s the DMG that’s most needed if you actually want to run games of D&D yourself. 

With the release of the final core book, it’s safe to say that Fifth Edition is a success. Unlike the previous attempt, this new edition has refined and built on all the things that have worked throughout the history of D&D. The result is a solid, accessible game. Dungeon Master’s Guide truly contains every single thing that people who want to run D&D need. It’s a solid guidebook into the game, packed with advice and useful (and useable) information.

It’s split into three sections. Part one, Master of Worlds, is all about world building and world design. Not only is this handy advice for storytellers in any medium, it’s also beautifully illustrated and very clearly stated. Advice on playstyle and flavour are also present, as well as exercises into creating your own worlds.

Part Two, Master of Adventure, is dedicated to actually writing your own adventures; how to keep the pace going, how to keep the players engaged, and how to keep it all balanced and fair. The final section, Master of Rules, has all the snacky magic items and advice on how to fine tune the existing rules to make the game run the way you need.

They are a few minor niggles: all measurements are imperial, and temperature is Fahrenheit. D&D may be an American invention but it is played internationally, and providing metric and Celsius data alongside the archaic information would have required very little effort. In addition, the dungeon-creating appendices could be a little better and easier to work with, the generic maps being a triumph of style over actual substance. We are perhaps a little spoiled by modern dungeon-creating software, but still, it does feel rushed. That said, Appendix B (the list of monsters) is very handy and well placed.

If you’ve fond memories of Advanced Dungeons and Dragons or D&D 3.5, and are looking to get back into the game, then you should pick up all three books, safe in the knowledge that they have consistent quality, formed from years of experience. D&D is now the best it’s ever been.

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