Wizards of the Coast posts D&D Basic Rules

Wizards of the Coast has posted up the Basic Rules for the next edition of D&D.



From the website:

As Mike Mearls explained in Legends & Lore: The Basic Rules for Dungeons & Dragons is a PDF (over 100 pages, in fact) that covers the core of the game. 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; in addition, the rules contain 120 spells, 5 backgrounds, and character sheets.

But the best part? The Basic Rules 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.

Here now is the Basic Rules for Dungeons & Dragons:

  • KelRiever

    I went to check on my 3.5 rulebooks to make sure they still work.

    And you know what?

    They still do!

    • Soulfinger

      It does sort of look like a “Sorry about 4th” edition of the game with the 2nd edition Kits added in as “Backgrounds,” which I hate. I’m curious if the 4th edition players will feel as disenfranchised by this edition as 3rd ed players were by the last. I think you are right though that nobody really needs this edition. Since the Hasbro buyout, D&D just feels too much like that ’80s movie where the nerd hires the popular girl to help him become popular, but this alienates him from his nerd friends. Each edition is yet one more clip from the montage scene of him trying on new clothes, while the girl watches with a bemused expression. I can’t remember the title of the movie, because I think it was every movie in the ’80s.

      • Ghool

        Can’t buy me love is the movie.
        And yes, it sucked.

      • Stormcaller3801

        There’s a good bit of 4th mixed in there, really, if you know where to look. Nothing huge, but it’s in there. Kind of like vanilla in a chocolate chip cookie recipe.

        As someone who loved what they did with 4th (though I’d argue they really should have called it something other than D&D- remove the comparisons and I think 80% of the complaints would have vanished), this doesn’t feel like disenfranchisement. It feels more like an alternative stab at the same goal.

        One of the big things said in the 4th edition design notes was that they wanted to address issues that had been in the game forever- not just little fixes, but the big ones built into the foundations. And so they went at it from that standpoint, and as you’d expect from altering the foundations, you end up with something very different in a lot of ways- yet not necessarily bad (except, again, for deciding to slap the D&D label on it; I swear it’s like declaring a band to be the next Beatles). The only time I felt disenfranchised was when Essentials hit and it felt like they’d tried to fix the game by calcifying it. Maybe that helped; personally I’ve always liked how much you can do with the hybrid and multiclass options to create truly flavorful characters with a massive range of options.

        5th, so far, feels like they decided to try and fix D&D again- but this time they went for something more subtle and drew heavily upon older material, especially for flavor. The depiction of halflings remind me of the old (80s era) red box, the returning drow to ‘they’re all bad except Drizzt,’ the spell schools, and so on. Now, the halfling thing may be more driven by the Tolkien films’ popularity, but I think that more was just an impetus to dive back into the archives.

        • Soulfinger

          Nice analogies and observations. I agree that 4th ed being called Dragons and Dungeons would have resolved a lot. The issue wasn’t broken mechanics but a style of play alien to previous incarnations — or rather, seeming to embrace the Monty Haul, Min-Max style of play that had become a video game staple but which pen-and-paper players had been trying to curb since the game’s inception.

  • Stormcaller3801

    Pretty solid basic rules, good for introducing new players to the game. However, what’s listed as included is the sum total of what’s included- you’ll need other WotC products such as purchased adventures to get monster stats, treasure, and the like- which I’d generally consider part of the “core of the game.”

    Still- I’ll use them to introduce people to D&D, I think it’s the best rules set for doing that. Once they get tired of using the same one action every single round of combat, though, it’ll be time to move on to a different edition- or maybe whip out the 5th edition PHB. Have to wait and see what that includes…

    • random_comment@yahoo.com

      fwiw, The Basic Rules will have monsters and more content added to them as the hardbacks are released.

  • jahatch28

    @ KelRiever – Lol… very true…

    @ Stormcaller – they never advertised “complete game for free”… they just want players (new and old) to be able to make PCs for free… so either a DM can invest in the MM and DMG (or starter set I guess too)… certainly the PHB will have more options (as will PHB2, 3, etc as I’m sure they won’t stop with 1!)… but I think it’s a good idea to give people a taste of the game for free so they can decide if they want to stick with 3.5, 4th, Pathfinder, (1st? AD&D?, etc) or give Next a try.

    • Stormcaller3801

      Actually the PHB is supposed to be a stand-alone game, akin to the Pathfinder core rules, with the DMG and MM working more along the lines of highly-recommended expansions. And I wasn’t expecting a complete game, but if it’s called the core of the game, I would expect it to include at least some elements from the other side of the screen. They’ve kind of left the dungeons and the dragons out of it.

      • Jon F

        The Basic rules you get for free will be extended to include elements from the PHB, DMG and MM, but only once those books have been released. The Basic rules available today are only “Version 0.1”. ln other words, there’s more to come.

  • jedijon

    It’s just 3rd edition with one added mechanic – advantage/disadvantage.

    You can’t say [as Wizards DOES] we want to keep low level threats relevant to high level players – then flatten the attack bonus but keep 1 hit die/level. A CR1 enemy goes from 4 hits to kill to 100 by the time you’re level 20. Just plain dumb math. 4th edition had the math-tiger by the tail.

    5th edition just proves they’re scrambling for some small degree of relevancy.

    There’s nothing particularly great or awful about this game. But it is by no means an awesome RPG. Just keep playing the crap you already own–this is just more of the same.

    • Soulfinger

      Whoziwhaaa!? Do I understand you right that monsters increase in power as the party advances in level? So, at 10th level, the lowly kobolds turn a different color, put on some jaunty hats, and start tossing cabers at the party? I hope that I’ve misunderstood.

      • jedijon

        Nope you don’t – but if you read the Wizards blogs on their game design they’ve gone to great lengths toward this end. As I said, there’s a flat +2 to +6 attack progression from lvl1 to lvl20. And what purpose does this math serve when your foes don’t either gain HP to scale or put on a colorful hat or whatever. They’re still crappy lvl1 enemies just cuz they can HIT you doesn’t mean you’re scared.

        And they want you to think they’ve left the “you’re your magic items” mentality of 3rd edition behind…but imagine when you’re NEVER getting better than a +6 bonus to hit…how much you want that +1 longsword now…

        Roleplaying games are math. Bad math = bad game.

        • Soulfinger

          Oh, I get it now. So, the PC to-hit bonus caps at +6, making wizards and thieves just as handy as fighters in this regard. The monsters aren’t scaling up though. It’s not like, ‘You’re 10th level now, so the baseline goblins are too, and that orc you met at 1st level is now AC 20 and lifting 300 pound boulders over his head.’ Rather, goblins are presumably still a viable threat for higher level parties because the heroes are somewhat less heroic in this one area.

          On one hand, I like the idea of scaling back character progression. I’ve always found 1st to 5th level to be the most enjoyable with games becoming less interesting past 10th. This seems like a clumsy approach though, since nothing else seems scaled back to match. The fighter’s to-hit is in line with the wizard’s, and though the fighter gets some special abilities, those wizard spells are just as good as ever (if not better, since I’m looking at a 1st level spell that deals 2d8 damage with a 15-foot area effect). I thought 3rd edition’s approach of letting monsters take character class levels was a pretty good way of keeping low tier creatures relevant as a threat.

          Oh well . . . not like the gaming police are going to confiscate my 1st and 2nd edition stuff.

  • Marauder

    Reading through the PDF, I’m glad our group decided to get into 13th age instead.