Free PDF for 5th Edition D&D “Basic” released


And you can download it here.

I started out hating these rules, but as I read on they kind of grew on me.  I probably wouldn’t run 5e as written, but I’d certainly like to give it a try.  I’m actually excited about D&D again (as opposed to just the OSR clones or Pathfinder’s Beginner Box).

The Short:  If you’ve been pining away for an “Expert” edition of Pathfinder Beginner Box, you may want to give 5e Basic Rules a look: they go up to 20th level!  However, it’s not a complete game, so you’ll have to do some conversion work if you want to get started right now.

The Good:  Simplifies many ideas and mechanics in previous iterations of the game.  Also introduces new concepts, such as Advantage/Disadvantage, which largely does away with fiddly lists of situational modifiers (a nice bonus in my view).  The proficiency bonus system is easy to use and, even better, easy to tinker with for those who like to house rule (as I do).

The Bad:  No monsters or magic items.  I guess you get those with the Starter set, and then later when WotC starts releasing the hard backs.  You can probably adapt 3e/PF monsters with minimal work, though they might be a tad underpowered (and no idea how many XP they’re supposed to give).  Magic items may be harder given some of the new mechanics (though you can make up your own magic items and damn the “official” items, whenever they’re released).

The So-So:  5e also continues the trend of stat inflation, though perhaps not as bad as 4e.  Finally, no guidance on how much XP to award.  For example, no guidance on XP budgets for building encounters, how much treasure to give, etc.  For me that’s not such a problem, but new DM’s could probably use the guidance, so they’ll have to buy the books to get it.  Also, saving throws are now based on ability scores.  In some sense this is probably a no brainer for the game, but it means that ability scores are now a must for every monster, thus ensuring a fairly large stat block.  It also means you’ve now got six saving throws to deal with instead of three (or just one, in the case of Swords & Wizardry).

Overall, I’m pretty excited about 5e, at least the “Basic” version of it.  However, it’s not a complete game, so you’ll have to do some work, or buy the Starter set, to get started.  Even if you have no intention of ever running 5e it’s probably worth looking at if only to pilfer some neat house rules for your own campaign.



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5 Responses to “Free PDF for 5th Edition D&D “Basic” released”

  1. David Jenks Says:

    Aside from the Advantage/Disadvantage option, I felt a great big “MEH” as i was reading the PDF.

    Me? i’m sticking with my very beloved Beginner Box.

    • edowar Says:

      Fair enough. I’ll probably stick with my clone of choice and cherry pick the parts from 5e that I like best. Though I wouldn’t rule out running a modified version of basic 5e sometime…modified to be closer to the rules-lite games I prefer, of course.

  2. The Bane Says:

    “I’m actually excited about D&D again (as opposed to OSR clones or Pathfinder’s Beginner Box).”

    Was actually sad to read that bit. Your Pathfinder Beginner Box material is awesome.

    I will take a look at the linked 5e, but hope you continue on with PBB material.


    • edowar Says:

      Well, I didn’t mean to say that I’m not excited about PFBB anymore. More like, I’m excited by D&D, as well as PFBB. 🙂

  3. CJ Says:

    I am just glad that even is these basic rules they did go over some aspects of role playing instead of all roll playing. And to add things like personality traits, ideals, bonds, and flaws into backgrounds and bringing back sub races for character creation. It gives me an old school feel, but with some new things that might help someone new to rpgs get into character by helping flesh out a character beyond just their stats. Of course if Pazio ever expanded upon the Beginner Box that might be my go to game or maybe the Dragon Age game by Green Ronin if they ever release the last box set. But right now Runequest and Legend which use % system have my interest. I just haven’t had a chance to play or run them to see.

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