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Basic Dungeons & Dragons
Mike Mearls

One of several dozen new pieces of art from the Starter Set. A s you might have noticed, we made an exciting announcement last week about our upcoming storyline called Tyranny of Dragons, and after over two years of work, countless hours of testing, and hundreds of thousands of playtest packets downloaded, we’ve finally announced release dates for the books and the Starter Set that make up the core of the new edition of Dungeons & Dragons.

It’s been a long road to this point. It seems like just yesterday that we were in crunch mode for that first playtest packet. The team faced a daunting final push of work that day. I’m pretty sure that my rendition of several Public Enemy tracks provided the morale-boosting energy to finish that first release. Either that or everyone just wanted to get their work done to shut me up.

It’s been an interesting journey these past two years. The overwhelming response to the playtest showed us that demand for RPGs is still out there, despite a host of other gaming options. Your feedback and the steadily increasing approval in our surveys showed that we were on the right track. A simpler, leaner, extensible game was right not just for new players, but also for people who had put decades into playing D&D.

There’s a lot to talk about with the new game, but I’d like to take this week to focus on a piece of the puzzle we haven’t talked about yet: Basic Dungeons & Dragons.

Basic D&D is a PDF that covers the core of the game. It’s the equivalent of the old D&D Rules Cyclopedia, though it doesn’t have quite the same scope (for example, it won’t go into detail on a setting). It runs from levels 1 to 20 and covers the cleric, fighter, rogue, and wizard, presenting what we view as the essential subclass for each. It also provides the dwarf, elf, halfling, and human as race options.

But the best part? Basic D&D is a free PDF. Anyone can download it from our website. We want to put D&D in as many hands as possible, and a free, digital file is the best way to do that.

If Basic D&D is the equivalent of the classic Rules Cyclopedia, then the three core rulebooks are analogous to Advanced Dungeons & Dragons. Want more character options? Pick up a Player’s Handbook. Looking for more critters for your campaign? The Monster Manual has you covered. Want to sculpt a unique campaign? Pick up the Dungeon Master’s Guide. Still, Basic D&D is the true heart of the game and could easily provide a lifetime of gaming.

At the launch of the D&D Starter Set, Basic D&D will include the material needed to create characters and advance to 20th level. In August, with the release of the Player’s Handbook, Basic D&D will expand to include the essential monsters, magic items, and DM rules needed to run the game, along with the rules for wilderness, dungeon, and urban adventuring. (The Starter Set already covers the aspects of these rules that you need to run the included campaign.)

As we introduce new storylines like Tyranny of Dragons, we’ll also make available free PDFs that provide all the rules and stats missing from Basic D&D needed to run the adventures tied into the story. The adventures released as part of Tyranny of Dragons are playable without requiring any of the core rulebooks or the Starter Set. With just the Basic Dungeons & Dragons rules, you can play D&D for years.

Basic D&D makes it easier than ever for new players and DMs to jump into tabletop RPG play. We’re involved in the greatest gaming hobby ever invented. It’s time to bring that hobby to everyone who wants to take part.

Mike Mearls
Mike Mearls is the senior manager for the D&D research and design team. He led the design for 5th Edition D&D. His other credits include the Castle Ravenloft board game, Monster Manual 3 for 4th Edition, and Player’s Handbook 2 for 3rd Edition.
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If you were planning to release D&D products without mentioning what edition they go with then you should have named this the "What" edition. That way when people ask "What edition is this?" you could answer "Yes.".
Posted By: Tempest.of.Emptiness (7/9/2014 5:12:48 PM)


When is the PDF download being released? I thought it was today as the starter set is available to select stores today and then to the general public on the 15th?
Posted By: Dreskyn (7/3/2014 9:11:34 AM)


My guess is at the start of business and since they are PST then it would be in an hour or two.
Posted By: ironcleft (7/3/2014 9:44:40 AM)


so no monster on the 3rd... not even a rat?
Posted By: Malarky (7/1/2014 6:12:00 PM)


Where do I get the pdf?
Posted By: geoffhanna (6/22/2014 3:37:48 PM)


If I understand correctly, it will be on the DnD Classics web site on or about July 15th.
Posted By: DnDDan (7/2/2014 4:21:00 PM)


Very well for Basic DnD free pdf, good choice!

The price of 50 dollars/euros for each core book (for a total of 150 dollars/euros) is not so good, unfortunately.

If Pathfinder give the basics for 80, I hope at least those core books reach the shelves big and complete.
Posted By: Eilistraecomeback (6/4/2014 5:13:01 PM)


Lord_Markelhay, They've said that the DnD Starter Set is a product intended for new DMs who need to be trained to DM a game for their friends. You're paying for a 64 page adventure that is big enough to let the PCS reach 5th level, and you're paying for dice. The 32-page rulebook in the Starter Set will be compatible with the Basic DnD document. But perhaps it is worded in a way that is more newbie-friendly/hand-holding (conjecture on my part).

I think that the things veterans will get out the Starter Set that they can't get anywhere else, is the 64 page adventure, and the dice if they want those specific dice.

... in my opinion.
Posted By: Wyckedemus (6/1/2014 8:25:51 PM)


I'm glad to hear there's a free option for players who don't have the money to buy $150 worth of rulebooks. I'll probably still get the PH and MM, but I'm glad I'll be able to play the full game as soon as the Starter Set becomes available. Although, why would you need the Starter Set if the free PDF has more content? Does the Starter Set add classes (albeit without creation options) not found in the PDF?
Posted By: Lord_Markelhay (5/29/2014 2:28:12 PM)


$50 for the core book is WAY overpriced and a Hasbro gouge. I don't mind free material as a teaser so long as I'm not paying for the original source material with the first purchase I'm sure to make.
Corporate America at its best.
On the other hand...I have 5 fingers.
Posted By: Ohillion (5/28/2014 9:49:51 PM)


Geez, most of these Reply buttons are threaded right out*. If what you're intimating is as obvious as it seems, it's the one worse thing you could do for your local game store than only using the Character Generator. And if we're not going to support them, I hope something spectacular starts happening when I click Find A Game (on the /dnd page; redirecting there isn't the brightest thing I ever saw, since that part of the site is still pushing 4th Edition). $50 is the going rate for a book with a dust jacket, and though these don't, that's not too bad if they're going to be as fat as it sounds. I just hope they're better quality than that 4E crap. There are still companies printing books in the U.S. and Canada, I do work for Banta & Quebecor.

@Maerlius & Lord Markelhay:
When I read this article, what I get is that what's being given away in the Basic D & D PDF is very limited. The days of open source D & D are gone, and this is kind of ... (see all)
Posted By: RadperT (5/29/2014 9:39:38 PM)


Chill. The PHB is currently $29 preorder on amazon. So not quite a gouge IMO. Seems pretty fair to me. Also, there's a free version of the basic game all the way up to level 20, so there's really nothing to complain about. Free is free.
Posted By: mbeacom (6/1/2014 9:08:55 PM)


Whether or not I'll run a campaign using 5th-edition depends on the players. Nevertheless, there are always ideas and mechanics that can be taken from any of the editions to colour one's campaign. So I'll be a happy little shopper picking up the new books - perhaps even the Starter Box. But I'm confused by the announcement of a free pdf. If you're selling a product, why release a freebie which basically short-circuits any need to buy the main product? If people want it, are happy to have it, and Wizards want to provide it, that's OK. But I still don't understand why.
Posted By: Maerlius (5/28/2014 8:52:43 PM)


I've been playing DnD since I was a child. I'll never stop buying DnD products. However, this is not a game that should ever be enjoyed alone. I want to hear and meet other gamers. My children will be the next generation. They too will need to find groups when they grow up. They probably won't be as hardcore as I am. I hope the Free Basic PDF will give them a taste of their own imagination, like the Red Box did for me.
Posted By: AtomicPope (5/28/2014 1:57:46 AM)


Rad, now I would like to hear a bit about the digital tool beyond the pdf. And seriously, people been asking for a year, can you just fix the comment system already?
Posted By: OskarOisinson (5/28/2014 1:15:30 AM)


Great news, Wizs you are awesome, seriously. Me too, I would like to know something about online/mobile tool for character generation/consultation, monster building, and so on. I will be happy with an answer, just to know, even if it would be "No, we are not planning to do a such thing".
Posted By: OverFall_ITA (5/28/2014 3:19:56 AM)


Now that is great news. Any chance for having pdf sales of the books themselves, instead of only the physical product?
Posted By: Nibelung_ajr (5/27/2014 10:39:31 PM)


...and there was much rejoicing!
Posted By: Deacondragon (5/27/2014 7:11:14 PM)


Just wanted to congratulate the game designers. I'm currently playing a loin-cloth-wearing barbarian (in the Slavers series), and he's as much fun as any character I've ever run.

I hope we'll soon see additional campaign settings. 'Not especially enthused about playing FR.
Posted By: Steppenwolf41 (5/27/2014 6:23:29 PM)


You guys are the best!!!! I am so happy! Thank you Mike Mearls and WotC! "Let me hear you say: fight the power!"
Posted By: Sands666 (5/27/2014 6:10:11 PM)


PDF is great. What I would love to see is a character creation friendly APP of Basic for iphone and android. Plrasepleaseplease.

If this is not in the works through WotC, is this something someone else an do without coyright infringement?
Posted By: Germytech (5/27/2014 6:02:08 PM)


I think this is pretty cool. On (or about) July 15th, we can all get a PDF that will allow us to make simple PCs with the 4 basic races and classes. Human, Dwarf, Elf, Halfling. And Rogue, Fighter, Cleric, Wizard. To level 20. This is for the people who've playtested, and aren't new to DnD. Maybe you wanna DM and already have an adventure/campaign written. I do. So, I can run basic 5e totally for free, and legally. This is a smart move, as many gamers just search for pdfs via google, and once a TTRPG book is published...Someone scans it, and it's immorally "free" from then on.

The 'Starter Set' is a box that includes dice, an adventure, and pre-generated PCs, but only goes to level 5. This is for people who have NEVER played before, or haven't played in years.

If I like the free PDF (aka 'basic DnD') after a few months I can buy the hardcovers (PHB, MM, DMG) and hopefully have the tools to run the game I really want. Well, I won't have psionics; but I'll... (see all)
Posted By: seti (5/27/2014 5:51:28 PM)


Any chance there will be a hardcover available. Maybe POD?
Posted By: SaintAndSinner (5/27/2014 3:34:48 PM)


Why does it appear *completely random* whether or not the **** reply link will even let you click it? Is it the time of day? The phase of the moon? Do they roll 2d13+pi and compare it to a wild surge post chart? Absolutely nothing changes on my end, but some times it just won't work, and it usually refuses to work for a while when that happens.
Posted By: Sword_of_Spirit (5/27/2014 3:28:27 PM)


I don't have the answer but I'm replying to this message because it will actually let me do it. I hate to waste a working reply button!
Posted By: mbeacom (5/27/2014 3:44:58 PM)


Also: why is an unrelated MMO expansion game mixed in with all the 5.0 announcement news? That's also a bit confusing; they keep talking about it "leading" the product line when it has nothing to do with 5.0.
Posted By: nukunuku (5/27/2014 3:14:25 PM)


I haven't played the MMO...does it use 4e rules? Or, some video game only ruleset? Either way, what WotC needs to do is get a video game out that uses 5e rules...I loved the computer and console games from back in the 2e and 3e days. That's something that 'builds the brand'.
Posted By: seti (5/27/2014 5:55:30 PM)


I'm replying to you because the reply system won't let me reply to Seti directly.

The MMO is bizzare. It mostly borrows terminology from 4e, but the rules are almost exclusively 3e with a few 4-isms kludged into an MMO frame. So it's essentially Wizards extending the 'No 4e Video Games PERIOD' rule despite winning the rights back from Atari for starting the whole fiasco.
Posted By: FatherWendigo (5/27/2014 6:20:43 PM)


Brilliant! You can count on me to be dropping free copies of this everywhere from Bus Stops to Libraries.
Posted By: professordaddy (5/27/2014 3:02:55 PM)


That's what I was thinking!
I think that's a part of the marketing strategy here. The 1st ed. of DnD "Got around" and the same can be done again.
Good show.
Posted By: DarthDadaD20 (6/2/2014 11:30:00 PM)


It's a nice idea. I only feel that there will remain confusion by use of the word Basic. To many of us, Basic DnD is and always will be a DIFFERENT GAME than ADnD. Surely someone on staff knew this history and considered this a non-issue? Is this fixed in stone? Why not call it DnD5 Starter Pack?
(Also, why can't I use an ampersand in this post?)
Posted By: drexxell (5/27/2014 2:01:43 PM)


I'm very happy they went this way. I hope the Starter Set includes information about how to create sorcerers and warlocks, as well as the other races.
Posted By: infectionk (5/27/2014 1:46:52 PM)


Well played! Well played!
Posted By: The_Eye_of_Kyi (5/27/2014 1:41:55 PM)


Mike has already clarified that the starter set has no character creation rules in it. The starter set will allow you to play the included characters up through level 5. To create your own characters, you'll need the Basic DnD PDF or, after August 19, the Player's Handbook.
Posted By: CHeard (5/27/2014 7:17:43 PM)


Aaand that was supposed to be a reply to the comment above the one I actually replied to. Must work on mouse skills.
Posted By: CHeard (5/27/2014 7:21:32 PM)


I think this is great news. I was curious what WotC would do to really make this new version stand out and they've blown me away. This is gamechanging.

It will be interesting (and sad) to watch the perennial complainers find a way to spin free DandD into a bad thing, or incomplete thing, or some other negative view that only someone trying their darndest to be negative could come up with.
Posted By: mbeacom (5/27/2014 1:15:15 PM)


Did WotC ask for only praise? - John
Posted By: Seanchai (5/27/2014 12:58:58 PM)


Dang man, people are sincerely happy. Sorry?
Posted By: DoDColumbus (5/27/2014 1:30:10 PM)


It was supposed to be a reply to roonechr, but, you know, WotC's comment system... - John
Posted By: Seanchai (5/27/2014 1:33:29 PM)


Ah, sorry--carry on.
Posted By: DoDColumbus (5/27/2014 1:34:44 PM)


Epic win...nice job, guys!
Posted By: quindia (5/27/2014 12:55:19 PM)


great job guys I am really looking forward to the new edition!
Posted By: whilliam (5/27/2014 12:55:06 PM)


P.S. Stupid Comment Editor wouldn't let me use the "and" symbol. As in "Dungeons and Dragons."
Posted By: Alveric (5/27/2014 12:38:10 PM)


In regard to the release schedule, irrespective of the several times its roll of employees has completely turned over, the company does have plenty of practice in rolling out new (and incompatible with older) product. I mainly just want to counsel you on the ampersand. I don't know when Wizards is going to have the money for a comment system at the contemporary level of technology, but in this stylistically archaic format you just have to insert HTML tags, which begin with the ampersand symbol, to use certain forms of text in your posts. The only ones I know are & for the ampersand, and  , which is useful if you want to have more than one space between characters. There is a list of approved tags somewhere on the community forum. Now I turn my attention to the confusion over replies (above). BTW, if you want to be technically correct, there is no apostrophe in Players Handbook.
Posted By: RadperT (5/29/2014 9:03:12 AM)


Actually didn't have time, I'm at work myself.
Posted By: RadperT (5/29/2014 9:06:55 AM)


I hate you, Comment Editor.

I was just trying to comment that this release schedule looks a lot like the organic growth of ADnD. DnD and Dragon magazine from 1974, Monster Manual and Basic Set in 1977, Player's Handbook in 1978, and DMG in 1979.
Posted By: Alveric (5/27/2014 12:37:02 PM)


Hmm, it's not the "", (), -, or ; maybe it's
multiple returns

or when I delete
Posted By: Alveric (5/27/2014 12:33:42 PM)


I am still testing - was it the dash? (or parentheses?)
Posted By: Alveric (5/27/2014 12:31:46 PM)


I am testing to see what characters the comment editor thinks "do not pass validation."
Posted By: Alveric (5/27/2014 12:31:14 PM)


Awesome! Great news. Thank you very much.
Posted By: Forboda (5/27/2014 12:30:59 PM)


I'm always amazed at the lengths some naysayers will go to complain. I am glad to see that the bulk of the response is positive. This is a truly awesome announcement and a great way to support a community. I couldn't be happier.
Posted By: roonechr (5/27/2014 12:28:17 PM)


Great news; I like the approach being taken towards this edition launch.
Posted By: Alveric (5/27/2014 12:18:31 PM)


Love love love this! Thank you!
Posted By: Brother_Glacius (5/27/2014 12:02:50 PM)


Forget The Haters. This is exactly the way to go... provide everyone with a taste of the greatest game in the world.
Posted By: Poet22 (5/27/2014 10:59:19 AM)


Nice announcement. When will the PDF be available?
Posted By: Herald_Shadowmane (5/27/2014 10:50:37 AM)


"At the launch of the DnD Starter Set," says the article above. That should mean no later than July 15.
Posted By: CHeard (5/27/2014 11:41:11 AM)


This is a LEGENDARY announcement. Truly worthy of an amazing development and design effort. An incredible gift to the whole gaming community, which is millions strong. This creates an opportunity for the many life-long gamers to fulfill our obligation to pass on the best aspects of this amazing hobby to another generation.
Posted By: ashockney (5/27/2014 10:38:31 AM)


Free content is cool, but is it a Basic ruleset or just a part of the PHB? Because it doesn't sound like a Basic version of the game - it sounds like a version with just fewer character classes. - John
Posted By: Seanchai (5/27/2014 10:30:53 AM)


Basic PC builds, basic class options, basic mechanics, basic monsters.

And free.
Posted By: DoDColumbus (5/27/2014 10:36:03 AM)


BDnD =/= ADnD. For example, in Basic, you don't choose a Race. You do in ADnD. So my question is: Is this a cut-down Basic version of the game or just a selection of rules they've packaged and called it "Basic"? It sounds like the latter, but... - John
Posted By: Seanchai (5/27/2014 11:14:32 AM)


Seems pretty obvious they're not going to call the minimal ruleset anything like the "Core Rulebook." Since the title "Starter Set" has the marketing power needed to roll out an extra commercial product before the actual rules are even done, the free product gets a retro-sounding name, suggestive of but not actually related to the classic product of the same name, in the venerable tradition of other Hasbro publications like the "Tome of Magic" and "Unearthed Arcana."
Posted By: RadperT (5/29/2014 8:47:37 AM)


John, as Mike describes it, Basic DnD (5e) is the same game, but a subset of features. The July version is like a subset of the PH; the August version combines subsets of the PH, MM, and DMG.
Posted By: CHeard (5/27/2014 11:39:44 AM)


He says it's limited classes and contains the "core of the game." I'm plenty happy with a free whatever, but I'm wondering what this new "Basic" terminology means... - John
Posted By: Seanchai (5/27/2014 12:27:24 PM)


The terminology was actually explained a long time ago, early in the playtest. Standard is the PHB+DMG+MM. We now know it will include 12 classes as well all the races from the 3e PHB and 4e PHB 1. It will include options such as subclasses, subraces, feats and backgrounds.

The Basic game, what they are giving away free, uses the same rules, but offers less options. There will only be the 4 classes and the 4 races Mike mentioned (but they are separate--any race can be any class), and each class and race will come with a pre-selected built-in subclass (selected from the same options as the PHB, but probably not labelled.) Backgrounds are likely to be baked into your class also, and there will not be feats. It is also likely that they will avoid spelling out some of the more advanced rules options, simply allowing the DM to wing it with ability checks. For instance, if the Standard game includes specific rules for bullrushes, disarms, and knockdowns, the Basic game might not, ... (see all)
Posted By: Sword_of_Spirit (5/27/2014 1:20:37 PM)


Seems pretty straight forward to me. If this doesn't make sense to you, you probably want to stick with Basic.
Posted By: mbeacom (5/27/2014 3:50:45 PM)


You've done a great job of explaining how amazingly not simple the whole situation is. :) Seriously: this release schedule just puts out lots of similar products at tons of different levels that makes no sense to anyone unless they are already familiar enough with the product that they don't need that level of granularity. This isn't easier for new people; this is going to confuse new people and make them wonder if they are buying the "right" thing. Heck, I'm confused and I am actually a fan.
Posted By: nukunuku (5/27/2014 3:03:01 PM)


"The terminology was actually explained a long time ago, early in the playtest."

They said many things early in the playtest. - John
Posted By: Seanchai (5/27/2014 1:37:50 PM)


Remember when the Sorcerer was actually cool and not a watered down Wizard in the first playtest packet and then completely dropped it? Or when they said they were looking to make all classes more balanced and playable but then released the Rogue? Or how their promises to incorporate 4e mechanics boiled away to the Warlord... and then disappeared altogether?
Posted By: FatherWendigo (5/27/2014 2:54:35 PM)


So, starting from the very first announcement, their release structure already makes no sense!

We have Basic - which is apparently free and not the real game - and then the 3 core books - in August - and something called the Starter Set - which is being released in July, and is what, exactly? How can there be something between a free download and the actual books? Will the Starter Set have more or different stuff than the core books? What in the world is it for? Are the core books not enough? IT IS ALREADY CONFUSING. Please don't release twelve different colored "boxes" that all have different rules and different pieces to the same large puzzle!
Posted By: nukunuku (5/27/2014 9:37:47 AM)


Ack - it's even worse! The PHB is released in August, but the DMG isn't until November? Why? Why aren't they being released at the same time? Why are you giving us only a piece of the puzzle until November? You might as well have just put off releasing all the books until then.
Posted By: nukunuku (5/27/2014 9:41:51 AM)


The answers to your questions are extraordinarily findable.
Posted By: DoDColumbus (5/27/2014 10:07:12 AM)


Yeah, they told us this just last week. They're releasing them one at a time because it's too hard to guarantee a quality product when they lump all the releases together.
Posted By: mbeacom (5/27/2014 4:29:26 PM)


They shouldn't have to be.
Posted By: nukunuku (5/27/2014 3:10:22 PM)


The DMG is unnecessary to play the game.
Posted By: SigmaOne (5/27/2014 10:30:09 AM)


To who? For what kind of game? For me I would think it's necessary. Wouldn't everyone? Who wouldn't? Why wouldn't they? Why are all these questions even necessary? Why not actually make it simple?
Posted By: nukunuku (5/27/2014 3:09:11 PM)


Honestly, it is not confusing at all.

Do you want to start playing as soon possible with the core rules, with pregenerated characters who can advance to 5th level? Buy the starter set.

Do you want to make your own cleric, fighter, rogue, or wizard--perhaps for use in the starter set adventure or for another adventure your DM wants to run? Download Basic DnD in July.

Do you want to write your own adventures using the core rules? Download Basic DnD in August, after the PH releases.

Do you want additional character options beyond those provided in Basic DnD? Buy the Player's Handbook in August.

Are you a DM who wants an(other) adventure to run? Buy Hoard of the Dragon Queen in August.

Are you a DM who wants more monster options than are given in Basic DnD? Buy the Monster Manual in September.

Are you a DM who wants an(other) adventure to run? Buy The Rise of Tiamat in October.

Are you a DM who wants mo... (see all)
Posted By: CHeard (5/27/2014 11:37:18 AM)


Your answer also does a great job of showing how complex this actually is. All these different release levels won't make sense to anyone who isn't already familiar enough with their product line that they don't need that level of granularity. It's confusing enough already to people who ARE interested; how would this play out for someone completely new? How will they know what is the "right" thing to buy since there are like 10 options and half of them have most (but not all!) of the core rules in them? If you need an expert's help to even START to play, that cannot be a good sign.
Posted By: nukunuku (5/27/2014 3:08:03 PM)


It's honestly pretty simple.
If you're new or broke, download the PDF and play.
If you're new and want hardcopy, get the starter kit.
If you're an old pro (or have played the crap outta the starter set and want more), get the PHB, MM, DMG when they come out.
How is this complicated?
Posted By: mbeacom (5/27/2014 3:53:02 PM)


It makes perfect sense.
You get the basic game, and then expanded content, if you want it, soon after. Many expansions and modifcations to come after that. What's the problem?
Posted By: LordOfTheFlies87 (5/27/2014 12:50:44 PM)


What a great news making the entry point a free PDF will make the entry point to the game easier than ever
Posted By: Plaguescarred (5/27/2014 9:33:54 AM)


I just realized that they aren't giving us Basic, but the Next rules with a 'Basic' label slapped on. This is decidedly less dag-gon awesome.

Please, PLEASE reprint the ACTUAL BASIC BOOKS.
Posted By: FatherWendigo (5/27/2014 9:08:34 AM)
Posted By: argokirby (5/27/2014 10:47:46 AM)


I meant one of the new, pretty reprints like we saw for 1e/2e. Also, having bought the PDF from that link - the scan quality is TERRIBLE. I could justify it if it was under $10, but considering that it's an 'official' product commanding a premium price it's terrible.
Posted By: FatherWendigo (5/27/2014 2:24:53 PM)


I take back almost everything bad thing I've said about WotC over the last year (although I'm still a little mad about being charged for DDI for several months with no new content).
Posted By: VB_Baysider (5/27/2014 9:01:01 AM)


and I thought I was the only one to notice that.
Posted By: outhous (5/28/2014 4:54:09 PM)


Players Handbook cover is a bland mess as a thumbnail. I had to lean in to the screen to see the PC. A bland thumbnail == a bland cover across the shop == no sale.

Why just a PC? It's a multi-player game. The PHB should have *party* not an individual.

The art direction is very disappointing so far. I'd prefer a leaning towards impressionism which would allow your imagination to provide the details.
Posted By: koolraap (5/27/2014 8:48:02 AM)


Agreed completely. The new MM cover - perfect! New DMG: nice. New PHB: huh? I can't tell what's going on AND you're completely right: it should have been a party, not a single person vs. some huge random thing. Such a weird choice.
Posted By: nukunuku (5/27/2014 9:51:30 AM)


The PH cover actually has two PCs fighting a fire giant (King Snurre). There is a magic-using staff-wielding female right up near Snurre, and in the lower right-hand corner a sword-wielding elven ranger-looking male.
Posted By: CHeard (5/27/2014 11:45:03 AM)


I couldn't disagree with your opinion more, these are the nicest covers in DnD history! I love the new realistic art direction! If I have to look at any art even close to 4th editions cartoon style I will puke, I hated it with a passion. When I saw these new covers I was more excited than ever. If the inside art is this good I will be more than pleased :-)
Posted By: tirwin (5/27/2014 12:50:35 PM)


I too had concerns about the PHB cover. I'm hoping, however, that when I have the book in my hands and am not simply looking at a thumbnail, I'll be duly impressed. Over all, the artwork in Next is huge improvement over 3rd and 4th editions. The MM is especially good.
Posted By: Steppenwolf41 (5/27/2014 6:05:51 PM)


That is a fantastic surprise! Can't wait to get my hands on it. Truly a new era for DnD is dawning!
Posted By: moes1980 (5/27/2014 8:26:15 AM)


I like this idea; it allows for new players to experience the game without any major financial commitment, as well as allowing for lapsed players to try 5e and potentially bring them back into the fold, also without said financial commitment.
Posted By: sgt_d (5/27/2014 7:22:34 AM)


Plus, they already gave them away for free. - John
Posted By: Seanchai (5/27/2014 10:34:37 AM)


Good news! Looking forward to the new edition!
Posted By: TMPiper (5/27/2014 5:02:53 AM)


Great news!
Thank you so much.
Can't wait.
Posted By: Sgama (5/27/2014 4:04:20 AM)


I knew it.
Posted By: Prom (5/27/2014 3:50:40 AM)


This is a great idea! Thanks, team!
Posted By: Black_Sneak (5/27/2014 3:49:12 AM)


Oh and I can't wait to BUY "Mike Mearls sings Public Enemy" , the a capella version.
(DnDNext's best selling product- mark my words).

I will use it either:
a) for personal enjoyment, or
b) to intice my co-workers to work harder.

can't wait!
Posted By: sjap (5/27/2014 3:34:47 AM)


Sounds like a great move. BUT will the Basic PDF include ANY monsters? Or is that another of the items that will be different to the Rules Cyclopedia. Also assume that some magic items wont be in
Posted By: ShaneBlake (5/27/2014 3:18:39 AM)


The article specifically says that once the PHB comes out, Basic will include monsters, items, and more!
Posted By: Arithezoo (5/27/2014 7:34:14 AM)


Also, Rules Cyclopedia Chapter 14: Monsters
Posted By: Balrogoz (5/27/2014 12:52:08 PM)


I can't wait .... I want the Basic Rules nnnnnnnnnooooooooooowwwwww .... Ah! but I have to.
Posted By: VinceP (5/27/2014 3:01:32 AM)


Spectacular news.
Posted By: CHeard (5/27/2014 2:53:51 AM)


If they create another online monster creation tool like they did for 4E I will become a yearly subscriber once more!
Posted By: calaan (5/27/2014 2:20:10 AM)


Me too, I would like to know what will be of the online tools, because they totally worth, saved me a lot of time, and allowed my group to keep playing on.
Posted By: OverFall_ITA (5/27/2014 3:12:37 AM)


Speaking as someone who makes a living SELLING DnD products...

This is a wonderful, long-term, forward-thinking ingenious way to promote the product. Excellent work.
Posted By: FitzTheRuke (5/27/2014 2:17:47 AM)


Can you elaborate on this?

If you had a new boardgame come out - we'll call it "Settlers 3" - and there were 5 different boxes for it, and you could only play for longer than 30 minutes if you bought some combination of boxes 3, 4, and 5, and also box 1 was free, and oh by the way box 5 was also not going to be released for 3 more months: how many people would be interested in buying that game? How much time would you even spend explaining it to them?
Posted By: nukunuku (5/27/2014 3:27:39 PM)


Color me impressed. :D
Posted By: Twooshort (5/27/2014 1:48:43 AM)


Brilliant move!

Count me as one of the oddballs who would buy a copy of the Basic rules if they were published in a new Rules Cyclopedia, in addition to buying the core 3 books.
Posted By: Sword_of_Spirit (5/27/2014 1:26:15 AM)


This is pretty dag-gon awesome!

But if you're looking for a little bit of cash out of my wallet, I wouldn't mind having a nice-looking copy of Basic on my bookshelf, maaaybe with a few new races from each of the corebooks released since? (2e - Half-Elf, 3e - Half-orc, 4e - Tiefling or Goliath or Wyldin)

Just throwin' that out there.
Posted By: FatherWendigo (5/27/2014 1:16:21 AM)


Awesome, awesome, awesome, Mike and DnD crew! Thank You!
Posted By: sjap (5/27/2014 1:13:33 AM)


BTW, if you never intend to release this in print (or even if you do), and it's not too late, please consider optimizing it (page size and typeface) for tablets (iPad and Kindle Fire).
Posted By: rsaintjohn (5/27/2014 12:53:36 AM)


That is a really awesome move people, it will hopefully bring a whole knew range of people who we can share this game with. Well done.
Posted By: Raymunji (5/27/2014 12:45:04 AM)


"Your feedback and the steadily increasing approval in our surveys showed that we were on the right track."

That, or survivorship bias. Look it up.
Posted By: jeff-heikkinen (5/27/2014 12:43:52 AM)


They offer you a free, complete game, and instead of jumping in glee (yay!) people still complain.

As expected.

If you can't be positive when someone offers you something for free, I don't know, something is seriously wrong with you.
Posted By: DDNFan (5/27/2014 1:02:56 AM)


Did you bother to actually read what he wrote? He's not complaining about something being free. Or something that is free. He's commenting on the nature of the playtest and rules themselves, a separate issue.

And, that aside, he can complain about whatever he likes. - John
Posted By: Seanchai (5/27/2014 11:05:57 AM)


The claim of survivorship bias doesn't really hold water in this case. If you actually understand survivorship bias you'd realize that. Firstly, the playtest participation was actually GROWING, not dwindling, throughout the process with greater participation in the end than the beginning. This is a primary mitigator of the potential for suvivorship bias. If survivorship bias exists, it is generally because a reduced subset of satisfied participants begin to change how feedback is registered. The secondary mitigator of survivorship bias is the fact that they were actually making changes based on feedback from previous subsets, not the newly theoretical "survivors". What this means, simply, is that people liked the changes more than they liked the previous rules iterations. And that new participants came in liking the changes asked for by the previous participants. The people who would leave in such a case would likely people who didn't like the changes. That means those people... (see all)
Posted By: mbeacom (5/28/2014 2:11:15 PM)


Wait, so the "Basic Rules" will only expand over time?

Is this supposed to be "free, forever" for as long as they are online?

If it's freely available, what does this say about 3rd-party use?

Posted By: Germytech (5/27/2014 12:42:28 AM)


According to Mike's article, Basic DnD will expand once: the July edition will only have the rules for creating and advancing PCs, while the August edition will include monsters and DM-facing rules.

The other "expansions" are really adventure-specific patches so that you can play Hoard of the Dragon Queen and Rise of Tiamat without having to buy an additional rulebook as well as the adventure.
Posted By: CHeard (5/27/2014 11:49:02 AM)


This is the best news for the hobby ever, and mark my words, it is going to sell copies. Well done Mike, well done everyone. It is the best decision ever, better than the OGL. Anyone who wants to play should be able to play, and those who love it will buy the advanced rules, just like how it started with college photocopies. HAPPY 40TH BIRTHDAY, DUNGEONS AND DRAGONS!
Posted By: eL_sTiKo (5/27/2014 12:42:13 AM)


Holy hopping hobgoblins, Batman!
This is totally sick!
Posted By: DramoxTheIronLord (5/27/2014 12:39:40 AM)


Very cool, but what does this mean for the Starter Kit? The two seem redundant to me.
Posted By: Migelito16 (5/27/2014 12:36:43 AM)


The starter kit includes a 64-page adventure booklet, which doesn't seem to be part of the Basic DnD PDF. And the rules in the starter kit only take you from level 1–5, so the Basic DnD PDF would still be useful to someone moving on from the starter kit. I can imagine someone picking up the starter kit in a bookstore like Barnes n Noble without even knowing anything about the Basic DnD PDF.
Posted By: CHeard (5/27/2014 2:51:01 AM)


This is awesome!
Posted By: rastus_burne (5/27/2014 12:32:39 AM)


Wow, quite a powerful marketing move... buy an ad in a comic or any other medium, then say "go our website to start playing DnD NOW."
Posted By: BadMike (5/27/2014 12:28:06 AM)


What a great week of news, and thanks to the entire team for this strategy. It looks as though it's going to be easier than ever to get into the game, to find a game to play in, and to recruit players new and old. This 48 year old kid is very excited!
Posted By: rsaintjohn (5/27/2014 12:20:22 AM)


Excellent news. Just great.

Posted By: Yuva (5/27/2014 12:20:11 AM)


Gotta say, that's a pretty good move. Basically, the rules are free for anyone who is interested and the $50 core book is just "this, plus more." It's a great way to get casual players into the game for no money down, and should give a kick in the pants to organized play. Well played, WotC, well played.
Posted By: Clansmansix (5/27/2014 12:18:29 AM)


Bold move. I'm surprised (but pleased) that Wizards was able to go that far.
Posted By: fzaaq (5/27/2014 12:12:44 AM)


Good work, guys.
Posted By: pauldanielj2 (5/27/2014 12:08:22 AM)


Posted By: Reaper_Steve (5/27/2014 12:03:24 AM)



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